Three MPs from the Scottish National Party (SNP) have written to the UK Government and the EU Vice-President urging both sides to remove Brexit-induced barriers to the export of Scottish seed potatoes to the UK. European Union. Richard Thomson MP (Gordon), Alyn Smith MP (Stirling) and Dave Doogan MP (Angus) all represent constituencies containing significant farming communities and have echoed the concerns of their constituents and NFU Scotland about the continuing barriers facing farmers are facing to export seed potatoes due to Brexit.
Prior to Brexit, Scottish seed potatoes were a crucial import for European markets. However, since January 2021, Scottish farmers have been unable to export seed potatoes to the EU, including Northern Ireland, due to changes in trade regulations following the Brexit. These Brexit barriers have been put in place despite there having been no changes to the UK’s national plant health requirements for seed potatoes since the UK left the EU on that date. , or even any reduction in the quality of the product itself.
Writing to the UK International Trade Secretary, MPs said:
“The agricultural sector is a significant contributor to the Scottish economy, generating gross output of £3.3 billion a year. Over 67,000 people are employed in Scottish agriculture and the sector supports thousands more in supply chains… The high quality of Scottish seed potatoes is reflected in the fact that Scotland produces 75 % of UK seed potatoes that are exported to over 40 countries.
“It is therefore deeply concerning that since January 2021 Scottish farmers have been virtually unable to export seed potatoes to the EU… As you may know, potatoes grown in Europe are vulnerable to the development of diseases that eventually make the crop unsuitable. Without immediate access to a continuous supply of disease-free seed potatoes that Scotland can produce, there will be a steady decline in the quality of potatoes that can be grown in the EU, which will start affect farmers, food producers and ultimately consumers too.
“Regardless of any other considerations regarding the UK’s long-term trading relationship with the EU, we believe there would be overwhelming mutual benefit for the UK and the EU if a way could be found to quickly remove current barriers to trade in this important sector.”
“There is a strong desire among EU farmers and food producers to once again be able to import high quality Scottish seed potatoes. This desire is fully shared by Scottish producers, who once again wish to be able to meet this demand.
“All that stands in the way is the absence of any type of agreement that would once again facilitate this mutually beneficial trade between Scotland and the EU… We urge you to urgently seek to open discussions with the EU with a view to re-establishing a continued trade in seed potatoes between the UK and the EU as quickly as possible.
Source: Richard Thompsondeputy
Further information :
Senior Caseworker for Richard Thomson, MP for Gordon
MP: ‘Europe needs our Scottish seed potatoes’
Photo: Richard Thompson