Scottish potato growers see a boom in exports outside EU

Potato production rose 9% north of the Border last year. Picture: Contributed
Potato production rose 9% north of the Border last year. Picture: Contributed
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There could be more Scottish tatties on Christmas dinner tables across the UK this year, the Agricultural & Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) revealed yesterday.

Although there was a 5 per cent drop in UK production this season, 2016 was a better year for potatoes north of the Border, where production rose 9 per cent on the year, thanks mainly to higher plantings.

Statistics produced by the AHDB showed that while Scotland hadn’t bucked the overall drop in potato yields, they had fallen by a smaller amount than those in England. Together with the larger area grown, this had meant Scottish production had accounted for a larger than normal proportion of the ware crop.

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AHDB potatoes analyst Arthur Marshall said that, with the smaller overall UK crop, Scottish grade 1 packing whites had risen in price to £208 a tonne, against £155 last year.

In the country’s seed ­market, the variety Hermes had played an important role – as, according to Rob Burns, AHDB’s head of market development, it was particularly suited to export demands.

Burns said: “It grows particularly well in hot climates and so is appreciated by growers in Egypt who are dealing with very different conditions to the UK ­farmers.”

He added that official figures had shown that more than 54,000 tonnes of Scottish seed had been shipped to countries outside the European Union so far this year, against 39,000 over the same period last year.

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