Ewing pursues seed potato funds

“Everything possible” will be done to reverse the damaging impact which Brexit is set to have on Scotland’s seed potato sector, the country's rural economy secretary, Fergus Ewing, has pledged

The sector fell through the gaps of last week’s trade deal with Europe as the UK government did not agree to be ‘dynamically aligned’ with EU rules.

That means that exports of Scottish seed potatoes to Europe and Northern Ireland will no longer be allowed after January 1.

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Around 22,000 tonnes of high health Scottish seed potatoes worth around £12 million are normally exported to the EU and Northern Ireland each year – and while much of the current year’s trade was rushed through in autumn to avoid a risk of trade interruption in spring, growers remain uncertain

Following talks with the trade this week, Ewing contacted UK Defra minister, George Eustice, to highlight the importance of the trade to Scotland and to discuss possible solutions.

He said the UK government had been unsuccessful in making the case for the trade and highlighted his concerns that the existence of Scottish growers reliant on supplying customers in the EU and NI was being put at risk.

“We will not rest on this issue until every possible option has been explored. I met with industry leaders this week to hear their grave concerns, and expect the UK government to make every effort, alongside the Scottish government, to ensure our Scottish potato producers do not suffer from the damaging consequences of our exit from Europe.”