Farming: Pepsico pulls plug on Russian seed potato shipments

Scottish seed potato growers caught up in the backlash against the proposed export of consignments of seed to Russia got a reprieve yesterday when food giants Pepsico revealed it would not be going ahead with the export of any further shipments.

The supply of the consignment of seed potatoes to Russia had drawn considerable criticism
The supply of the consignment of seed potatoes to Russia had drawn considerable criticism

A spokesperson for the group, which is the parent company of Walkers and Lay’s crisps, said: “We have discussed the matter with our Scottish farmers and have made the decision to discontinue further shipments. Our motivation has always been to support our farmers and avoid damaging future food production.”

The supply of the consignment of seed to Russia had drawn considerable criticism, from the general public, from within the trade itself and from politicians who had been critical of the Scottish Government’s role in providing the certification required for the seed to be exported.

Responding to the news that no more seed was to be exported, the Scottish Government said: "We have led calls for businesses to disinvest in Russia as a result of the invasion of Ukraine – and communicated this very clearly to the seed potato suppliers concerned.”

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It added: “The Scottish Government and its economic agencies will use all available powers not to support trade and investment activity with Russia.”

Speaking earlier in the week before Pespico had decided to halt shipments, the Scottish Government also stressed it was not responsible for approving export deals.

“Where a company makes the decision to export any plants or other plant products from Scotland, Scottish Government officials are required to carry out various activities in relation to this, including the inspection and certification of goods.”

Meanwhile, one of Scotland’s leading livestock auctioneering businesses, Caledonian Marts, has announced it is to hold a charity auction and raffle to raise funds to help Ukrainian refugees forced to flee their country.

The company said that, much like the rest of the population, it had looked on with horror at what was going on in Ukraine.

And the team at the Cally said they are now seeking in their fundraising efforts to raise money for those most affected by the war.

Proceeds from the event, which takes place at the Cally mart in Stirling at 11am on Saturday, 23 April will go to UNICEF’s campaign to Help Protect Children in Ukraine and to the Central Plains Group, a regenerative farming business with operations in Ukraine who are raising funds to help refugees streaming into Western Ukraine from Kyiv and East Ukraine. All funds raised will be split equally between these two good causes.

Caledonian Marts Managing Director, John Kyle, said: “For this special sale, we will take cattle, pigs, sheep or machinery – in fact, anything with a value that can help to make a difference. We will be donating 100 per cent of monies raised to these two causes. Please do donate if you can.”

Farmers or local businesses able to donate to this special sale have been asked to contact any member of the Caledonian Marts team for further details.

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