The UK has decided not to renew a six-month extension which allowed the import of EU seed potatoes to Britain.

As an EU member state, Britain exported around 30,000t of seed potatoes, worth £13.5m, to mainland Europe each year.

The majority of these were high-health stocks grown in Scotland.

However, when the UK exited the EU at the end of 2020, the Trade and Co-operation Agreement, which was signed by all parties, failed to agree equivalence on seed potatoes.

As a result, British seed exports to the EU and Northern Ireland were banned.

The UK Government has previously applied for equivalence on seed potatoes, but this application was rejected.

Imports of EU seed were still possible due to a six-month extension granted by the UK.

That extension expired on 30 June 2021 and has not been renewed.


NFU Scotland has welcomed the decision taken by Defra last week.

Chair of NFU Scotland’s Potatoes Working Group Mike Wilson, a seed potato grower, said: “We are delighted that the principle of seed potato trade between the EU and GB having to go ‘both ways or no ways’ has been upheld by Defra.

“Extending the authorisation for a further six months had the potential to devastate Scotland’s seed potato industry, impacting many of our members’ businesses and Scotland’s rural economy.

"We welcome that the UK government’s allowance for EU seed potatoes to be sold to GB has now officially been ended,” he continued.

“This means that potato growers throughout Britain will have to source their seed from within Britain, which is good news for Scotland’s seed potato sector,” he concluded.