Region’s growers play role in record potato exports

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The Potato Council has announced that a new British export record was set in seed potatoes over the course of the last export season.

During the last 12 years, the UK has grown exports from 70,000 per annum to more than 100,000 tonnes - the new record set in 2013/14.

According to the industry body, the success is largely due to the industry’s work with the Potato Council and plant health authorities on plant health and certification issues.

Potatoes are generally grown from seed potatoes which provide consistent and healthy plants.

While the majority of seed potatoes exported from Britain are from Scotland, Cumbria and Northumberland, the organisation said that Yorkshire is an up-and-coming producer and exporter of high quality seed potatoes with an increasing amount grown in the Yorkshire Wolds.

The total planted area in Yorkshire and Humber was 2,110 hectares last year - up from 1,232 hectares in 2007.

Edward Lindley, who is a seed grower in Driffield and exports the Hermes variety to Egypt, said: “We grow Pre-Basic and Super Elite grades of seed potato here in Yorkshire and seed production in this region has increased significantly in recent years. I am able to produce around 80 per cent of my own seed potatoes for multiplying up each year.

“We can lift and dry the seed crop that little bit earlier down here so we can supply the earlier overseas markets comfortably.”

British seed potatoes will be promoted by the organisation at Potato Europe, a global industry event near Hannover, Germany on September 3-4.