BusinessScotland signs major seed potato supply deal with Kenya

Scotland signs major seed potato supply deal with Kenya


Scotland’s farmers could be set to grasp a share of an estimated £50 million market for seed potatoes in Kenya following the announcement that the Scottish Government has signed a bilateral agreement with the Kenyan authorities.

Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said that the agreement represented further recognition of Scotland’s high-health status and worldwide reputation for producing high quality seed potatoes.

Kenya grows around 160,000 hectares of potatoes annually, but only two per cent is grown from certified seed.

“The potential market demand is therefore significant,” said Ewing. “This agreement with the Kenyan government will enable farmers to access high-quality Scottish seed potatoes that are free from disease, potentially improving Kenya’s potato crop health and yield.”

However, Ewing added, while Scotland’s exporters had experienced great success in recent years, for this to continue in places like Africa it was absolutely essential that the country remained in the European single market, to avoid existing trade deals unravelling.

Rob Burns, head of crop exports and market development with the Agricultural & Horticultural Development Board, said that high quality seed such as that from Scotland could offer a considerable boost to the crop, which was second only to maize in Kenya.

He said: “At the moment only around 2,000 tonnes of certified seed are used when the potential demand from the market is closer to 100,000, so there is considerable room for more seed.”

Burns added that although operators from the Netherlands were already supplying this market it was conceivable that Scottish seed potatoes could be used next April.

“While a number of our varieties would have to undergo national list testing in Kenya, we already grow two varieties which are on their list, so they could be planted early next year.”

While almost a third of Scotland’s seed potato industry goes for export, around 30,000 tonnes go to European Union member states another 80,000 tonnes go to 25 different countries outside the EU.

However, Burns said that while new seed crop destinations such as Cuba had been opening up in recent years, there was currently a heavy reliance on the Egyptian market – and that having access to a new and growing market was good news for Scotland’s seed potato industry.

Source:  The Scotman


Trending This Week

Big Business from Little Potatoes

What makes the Little Potato Company concept work and, more importantly, what can the rest of the potato industry take from their success? Spud...

Harvest New Variety Insights at Trials and Conferences

I’ve been thinking how daunting it can be for growers to select potato varieties to grow in the next season. With hundreds of varieties already...

Eye on the Nation: New Brunswick

After a very difficult year in 2023, growers in New Brunswick are optimistic for the 2024 crop year. Planting conditions were ideal this spring and...

“Functional Sustainability” Concept Catching on at World Potato Conference

Sustainability is an important goal but if the ways we pursue it aren’t practical and economically viable in a real-world farm context, the sustainability...

Bin Prep Now

When I’m sharing a coffee or a beer with producers at events through December, January, February, we’re all full of plans for the season...