CONCERNS about future trade with the UK in seed potatoes have been voiced by Dutch Potato Organisation (NAO) as there are no signs of a post-Brexit deal on seed potatoes between Great Britain and the EU.
NAO is the trade association for companies trading in seed and ware potatoes in the Netherlands. Many member companies export within and outside the EU, including the UK.
The issue, which has seen Scottish seed exports to the continent banned, could also affect UK imports of EU seed potatoes, of which The Netherlands is the main supplier, accounting for up to 20,000 tonnes a year. Although there is currently a one-way derogation in place from the British Government, if no agreement is agreed on the phytosanitary preconditions for import and export, the export of seed potatoes from EU countries to the UK might be closed on July 21st.
In a recent interview with Nature and Food Quality, the NAO's magazine, NAO Director Dick Hylkema said: “In one way or another, seed potatoes have fallen outside the trade agreement. In fact, there is a tough Brexit for this segment of the potato sector. Free trade in seed potatoes is of vital importance, especially for breeding. That is not the case now. The Netherlands in particular is troubled by border problems, given the size of the mutual seed potato trade.”
There have been calls by the Scottish seed industry for the UK to remove its current derogation on the phytosanitary requirements for EU seed before July 1st if the EU refuses to recognise the status of UK-grown seed.