Teagasc and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, have both stated that Brexit will negatively impact the quantities of seed potato that Irish growers can import from the UK. There might be a bright side to this, as this might create opportunities for new and existing seed potato growers in Ireland to expand their operations, as producers seek to meet all seed requirements from locally-produced supplies.
During his presentation to the recent Teagasc Seed Potato webinar, Minister McConalogue said: “I am keen to see the potato seed sector develop and progress. Ireland’s potato industry is a critical element of our agri-food sector and has proven itself to be very resilient. Brexit is a further challenge, particularly in the context of seed potatoes. Following Brexit there has been exchanges with colleagues in the UK and the EU on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) equivalence, particularly where seed potatoes are concerned.”
“These exchanges have now hardened and it doesn’t appear that there will be any further moves that might facilitate the 2021 season. Adequate planting stocks have been secured for this season. But, of course, the focus now turns to next year and the year after, in terms of securing a sustainable supply of seed potatoes for our domestic sector.”
McConalogue went on to point out that, in a post-Brexit scenario, there are opportunities to increase the supply of Irish grown seed potatoes. “My department is now engaging with all relevant stakeholders to raise awareness around these matters. But this potential can only be realised if we have a close buy-in from all relevant groups.”
According to an article on agriland.ie, the minister made it very clear that the end goal, in this context, must be an increase in the production of high quality seed potatoes here in Ireland.
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