Around 90% of seed potatoes now need to be sourced from other EU regions

Around 90 per cent of seed potatoes now need to be sourced from other EU regions, which have not traditionally supplied high grade seed varieties favoured by the Northern Ireland market.
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The Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs gave his assessment of the impact on the potato sector of the EU ban on export of seed potatoes from GB to Northern Ireland, pursuant to Regulation EU 2016/2031.

The question for written answer was submitted by TUV MLA Jim Allister.

In his response, Agriculture Minister, Edwin Poots, said: “At the core of the prohibition on moving seed potatoes from GB to NI is the displacement of long established trading from high grade seed areas in Scotland and northern England.”

TUV leader, Jim Allister.TUV leader, Jim Allister.
TUV leader, Jim Allister.

He continued: “The inability to access this seed reduces the opportunities for potato growers to multiply high grade seed for the local market and, consequently, the production of ware potatoes of these varieties.”

Mr Poots confirmed he is continuing to press the UK government on the matter and that Secretary of State, George Eustice, is seeking the EU to review its current position, in considering the GB technical case for seed potato listing, taking account of the principles of proportionality, equivalence and non-discrimination.

Last month, the TUV leader said ‘absurd EU law and sleepwalking MLAs’ were to blame for the ban on imports to the province from Great Britain.