As Scottish seed potatoes are barred from export to the EU, the seed sector's former customers are seizing the 'Brexit opportunity' of expanding their own seed production. In the Irish Republic, this week saw proposals for a €3 million scheme of investment aid for its seed potato sector, to accelerate development of capacity and aid improvements in seed potato production, storage and marketing through grant assistance to producers towards their capital costs.
As a result of the UK’s decision to leave the EU and following the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1, 2021, the import of seed potatoes from Great Britain into the EU remains prohibited.
Announcing the scheme, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, stated: “In recognition of the challenges faced by the Irish potato sector in fulfilling its annual demand for access to high grade seed potato following the exit of the UK from the EU, I am delighted to announce approval of the scheme for this highly specialized farming activity.”
Gordon MP Richard Thomson warned Defra that the 'clock is ticking' for Scottish seed potato exports so long as no progress is being made towards re-opening trade with the EU.
Thomson said: “We were told there would be huge benefits to agriculture from Brexit. In this case, the benefits are entirely flowing to seed potato growers in Ireland as their government recognizes a Brexit opportunity and has stepped-up to inject a €3million boost to their own farmers and growers.