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Bilateral trade deal opens Kenyan potato market.
Scottish seed potatoes can be imported to Kenya after an agreement was signed between the two countries in a boost to the sector, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has announced.
The bilateral agreement represents further recognition of Scotland’s high-health status and world-wide reputation for producing high quality seed potatoes.
Mr Ewing confirmed the agreement while visiting AHDB’s stand at AgriScot – he said:
“I am delighted to confirm that the Scottish Government has signed a bilateral agreement to allow the import of Scottish seed potatoes to Kenya. This is welcome news for the Scottish seed potato sector and further recognition of its global renown for producing high quality seed potatoes.
“Kenya grows around 160,000 hectares of potatoes annually but only 2% of this is grown from certified seed potatoes. The potential market demand is therefore significant. 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.
“I am utterly determined to maximise market opportunities at home and abroad for producers of Scotland’s food and drink sector. Scotland’s exporters have had great success in recent years, but for that to continue in places like Africa, it is absolutely essential that we remain in the European Single Market, to avoid existing trade deals unravelling completely.”
Rob Burns, Head of Crops Export Market Development, said:
“We are proud to have worked in partnership with the Scottish Government to secure this exciting new opportunity. Developing new trade and export relationships is a key part of AHDB’s role as they help boost economic growth and provide support to farmgate prices. The seed potato sector is already particularly successful at exploiting overseas markets with roughly 30% of the crop exported abroad and this agreement will only enhance our reputation for quality and high health.”
The Scottish Government and AHDB Potatoes visited Kenya between 7-11th November to finalise the bilateral agreement to allow the importation of Scottish seed potatoes into Kenya.
Potato is the second most important food crop in Kenya after maize. One of the main challenges for the potato sector in Kenya is availability of high quality seed, as the majority of potato growers use farm saved seed which is generally of poor quality. The high quality of Scottish seed and our freedom from quarantine pest and diseases is therefore a key factor in opening up this market.
Each year Scotland grows around 11,000 hectares of high grade seed potatoes producing a crop of about 260,000 tonnes with an estimated value, depending on prevailing prices, of at least £80-£100m. This production represents about 75% of the total seed potatoes grown in the UK. The largest part of this seed potato production is exported from Scotland each year. Approximately 80,000 tonnes of Scottish seed is exported to over 25 different countries outwith the EU, around 20-30,000 tonnes to the EU and the remainder to the UK home market. The Scottish potato sector is valued at around £167 million. Scottish seed potatoes underpin the GB potato sector, which has a value estimated at £5 billion.