Quality credited for seed potato exports

Range of seed potato varieties and rigorous health checks boost Britain's worldwide reputation.

Britain's export of seed potatoes continued on an upward trajectory last year, according to the Potato Council.

"We smashed through the 100,000-tonne barrier thanks to Britain's growing reputation as a worldwide supplier of quality seed potatoes," said head of seed and export Mark Prentice.

The export market has grown by 43 per cent over the past 10 years, he added. "This is the result of careful development of seed potato varieties to ensure great results in varying climatic conditions. British seed potatoes are successfully produced for fresh and processed markets in countries as diverse as Egypt, South America and Asia."

High health standards are key to the reputation of the UK crop, which undergoes two Government inspections in the growing crop and a final tuber inspection post-harvest, said Prentice.

"Furthermore, we established the Safe Haven scheme some years ago to create a secure supply chain offering the best possible protection against the introduction of bacterial ring rot," he pointed out.

"The scheme also acts as a safeguard against other non-established bacterial diseases."

The scheme accounts for more than 60 per cent of the UK seed potato crop and growers are only eligible to join if they have the highest hygiene standards, with certification contingent on seed origin, hygiene, machinery, transport and storage.

BOUND FOR BERLIN

The Potato Council will be flying the flag for UK seed producers at the Fruit Logistica trade show in Berlin next month.

Despite its name, the event also caters for the vegetable and potato sectors.

Explaining his pitch, the council's head of seed and export Mark Prentice said: "Our success in the export markets is mainly due to offering the different markets what they need, with timely delivery assured."


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