With the UK leaving the EU, withdrawing from the single market and the Government not willing to accept alignment with the EU for any commodity, they left to make their own rules, the sale of seed potatoes to Europe and Northern Ireland is no longer allowed. There are so many ways this could go and ways people want it to go. For now, and the foreseeable future this will be the case.
It is too late for this year’s planting and may take several years to fix as our customers in the EU will have to buy this year’s input seed from elsewhere and may sign two / three year contracts or longer.
Some may say that we should exclude seed and ware coming into the UK from the EU and be self-sufficient, the problem being that industry needs ware / processing potatoes coming in through out the year and English growers use a lot of EU seed each year. Scotland does not allow the import of seed so a separation of Scottish seed from other members of the UK does not work as the deal would need to be reciprocal.
DEFRA and the Government do not want to sign up to alignment with Europe so stale mate continues and they don’t want to stop imports for many growers and many industries to help out a handful of growers and merchants selling seed to the EU.
With planting underway for some and Scotland’s seed growers a matter of weeks away from starting, decisions will need to be made about varieties that would normally be grown for customers in the EU. It may be a case of growing enough to keep varieties going for a year to see if a trade deal can be established for the year 2022 or a bigger tweak to move away from your plans and grow varieties that are not grown for the EU.