Due to new regulations, Scottish seed potatoes can be reintroduced to the Northern Irish market from September 30th. Following the Windsor Framework, Lord Benyon, Minister of Defra, stated that seed potatoes previously prohibited can now be transported from Great Britain, just like in the rest of the UK, to Northern Ireland.
The transportation of seed potatoes will be subject to annual inspection and approval by an authority, allowing traders to print and affix the planting label themselves. Before the UK left the European Union, Scottish seed potatoes were crucial for markets in Northern Ireland and the mainland. More than 75 percent of UK seed potato exports come from Scotland, with the country exporting seed potatoes to 18 EU countries in 2020/21.
Member of Parliament Richard Thomson is pleased with the confirmation of the September 30th date but expressed “astonishment” that the UK government has not addressed the issue of exports to the EU since March: “A date for the resumption of seed potato exports to Northern Ireland is undoubtedly welcome and provides certainty where it was previously lacking. However, it is absolutely astounding that Defra acknowledges that the issue of lifting the export ban to the EU has not been discussed for almost six months.”