Strategic Research Programme 2011-2016: economic impact

Assessment of the economic impacts generated by the Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division's research programme.

8 Exports

This chapter considers the contribution that research supported by the 2011-16 SRP has made to maintaining the value of Scotland's exports.

8.1 Seed Potatoes

In 2015 Scottish farmers produced more than 1.0 million tonnes of potatoes of which just over a quarter were seed potatoes and almost 79,000 tonnes of these seed potatoes were exported. Seed potatoes are a particularly high value component of the potato crop, generating between £240 and £250/tonne compared to around £140/tonne for main crop potatoes.

By multiplying the average value/tonne of seed potatoes grown in Scotland by the total volume of seed potatoes exported it was estimated that seed potato exports generated a total of £19.4 million for the Scottish economy in 2015/16. By dividing this by a turnover/ GVA ratio for the agricultural sector it was estimated That this activity also supported around 388 jobs in Scotland.

The continued success of the seed potato industry in Scotland is wholly dependent on Scotland's reputation for producing high health plants. In order to maintain this high health status it is vital that growers in Scotland are able to respond quickly and effectively to new and evolving disease threats. Their ability to do this depends strongly on the research and underpinning capacity funded by the SRP.

In part this benefit arises as a result of the on-going research on important potato diseases undertaken by the MRPs (see chapter 6 for further details). This helps to ensure that growers in Scotland are in a position to respond appropriately to new disease threats as and when they emerge.

The benefit is also supported by the plant breeding work undertaken by the MRPs (see section 7.2 for further information), which has led to the development of new varieties of potato with improved resistance to important diseases. As discussed in the previous chapter, these genetic improvements are made possible by the genetic resources available through the Commonwealth Potato Collection, which is hosted by one of the MRPs and supported by funding provided through the 2011-16 SRP.

8.1.1 Counterfactual

The continued success of Scotland's seed potato industry is entirely dependent on Scotland's reputation for producing high health plants and Scotland's ability to breed new varieties that are resistant to diseases. Sections 7.2.1 and 6.2 describe why the benefits of these areas of work are attributable to the funding provided by the SRP. The same rationale can therefore also be used to justify why the benefits discussed in this chapter would not be realised without SRP funding.


Email: Eilidh Totten,

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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