EU food exports continue but seed potatoes banned

Exports of seed potatoes - a vital Scottish export - will not be part of a trade deal between the UK and EU.

EU food exports continue but seed potatoes banned Getty Images

A UK-EU trade deal has been branded “disastrous” for Scotland’s seed potato farmers after they were excluded from the agreement.

Exports of the goods – a vital Scottish industry – will not be part of a deal expected to be announced on Thursday.

Meat, fish and dairy products can still be sold to the European Union beyond January 1 after the United Kingdom was granted “national listed status”.

The EU has also agreed to the exports of many plants and plant products can continue being exported to the bloc and Northern Ireland.

But seed potatoes will be banned, leading industry leaders and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to condemn the outcome.

Sturgeon tweeted: “This is a disastrous Brexit outcome for Scottish farmers… and like all other aspects of Brexit, foisted on Scotland against our will.”

Archie Gibson executive director of Agriko UK, a supplier of certified Scottish, English and Dutch seed and exporter of seed potatoes in the UK through parent company Agrico Holland, said it would have a “significant impact” on the industry.

He said: “It appears seed is prohibited from sale into EU markets. That means that markets Scottish growers have developed for export over a number of years will in effect not be available to us from January 1.

“We know officials at all levels of government in Scotland and the rest of the UK are well aware of the potential damage to the UK seed industry and have made representations about it.”

He warned that many seed potato farmers now faced an uncertain future.

Mr Gibson said: “To lose access to those markets established over the last 40 years will have a significant impact on our industry and for European markets as well, it’s going to have a negative impact on their business as well.

“Some businesses could suffer considerable financial hardship. It’s too early to say at this moment in time but I think belt tightening will be in order for everyone.”

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said officials were working with the European Commission on the issue.

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