Brexit might be opportunity to market Irish seed potatoes

Irish Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue has proposed there may be significant opportunities to increase the production and supply of Irish grown seed potatoes post-Brexit, to replace UK imports. McConalogue also predicted great opportunities for import substitution on the fresh chipping markets.

An amendment in December, giving the UK a favourable listing as a “Third Country Other Than” removed the prohibition on import of ware potatoes (potatoes destined for human consumption) from England, Scotland, and Wales. Prohibition was also removed on import of some plants such as apple and strawberry. But removal of this prohibition does not apply to seed potatoes.

Although consignments of ware potatoes imported from England, Scotland, and Wales from January 1 can proceed, they must be accompanied by a valid phytosanitary certificate issued by the UK National Plant Protection Organisation.

Meanwhile, engagement is ongoing on a UK application to the EU for ‘Third Country’ equivalence for export of certified seed potatoes to the EU.

In the Dáil, in mid- December, Minister McConalogue said Ireland is one of a small number of areas officially recognised in EU legislation as a high-grade seed area to produce seed potatoes, because the country is free from a number of significant potato diseases that occur in other member states.

As reported on¸ the certification scheme includes soil and tuber sampling and testing for pest and disease control. This high-quality disease-free seed is made available to the industry for further multiplication and supply to commercial growers and for export.

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Source: Fresh Plaza