The Department of Agriculture has advised all Irish potato growers to ensure that all required UK seed is supplied before the UK leaves the EU at the end of March.
Notices have been issued by the Department to the potato trade stating that seed potatoes are banned from entering the EU from third countries, with the exception of Switzerland. The departure of the UK from the EU on 29 March 2019 means its status will change to that of a third country.
To facilitate the 2019 planting season, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed advised growers to secure seed potatoes before then. He said there would then be time for the European Commission to amend the regulations preventing the import of third-country potato seeds before the 2020 season.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, all potato consignments entering the EU from the UK must be notified in advance
The ban is outlined in Annex III of the EU Plant Health Directive 2000/29/EC.
In response to a parliamentary question from Fianna Fail’s Lisa Chambers, Minister Creed said: “There will be at least another nine months before the 2020 planting season for the European Commission to consider requests from the UK for amendment to annex III of the plant health directive based on a detailed scientific justification as to why the amendment is warranted.”
The importation of potatoes for consumption is also banned under the same directive but is allowed once certain conditions are met.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, all potato consignments entering the EU from the UK must be notified in advance and be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the UK plant health authorities.
The potatoes must also be free from ring rot and comply with other EU requirements for various pests and diseases.
Minister Creed said these procedures were already well established for other third countries trading into Ireland.
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