From 1 July 2021 it is no longer possible to market EU seed potatoes in Britain after the UK government decided to reciprocate a ban applied by the EU in the other direction.

That ban on exports to the EU came into place at the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020.

Under the terms of the NI Protocol, it also applies on seed potatoes imported from Britain into NI.

The main issue is the decision by the EU not to recognise the regulations applied to seed potato production in Britain as equivalent to those that exist in the EU.

Grace period

To minimise disruption, the UK decided to implement a grace period, allowing EU seed potatoes to move to Britain for the first six months of the year. But with no relaxation on the restrictions applied to exports to the EU, the UK government has decided not to extend that grace period any further.

The move has been welcomed by the Scottish seed potato sector, which had been responsible for the vast majority of the estimated 30,000t of UK seed potatoes exported to the EU each year.

“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,” said NFU Scotland member Mike Wilson.

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