THE IMPORTANCE of export markets to the Scottish potato seed sector was in the spotlight when industry representatives met with the Defra secretary of state Andrea Leadsom last week.

At an exporting event hosted by AHDB at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire yesterday, Alistair Melrose, production manager at seed and ware merchants Wm Fraser and chair of the AHDB Potatoes' Seed and Export Committee, discussed AHDB’s objectives for the sector.

“In Scotland we have approximately 10,500ha dedicated to seed production and the sector is worth an estimated £80-£100 million," said Mr Melrose. "It is a hugely important industry where foreign markets play a key role; 30% of our seed is exported to both EU and non EU countries.

“During my time with the Cabinet Secretary I stressed the importance of export markets to the seed sector, both maintaining our current markets, as well as expanding into new ones. Scottish seed is highly regarded and AHDB is capitalising on that through exploring potential new markets such as Kenya and China.

"Our goal is to ensure that our growers are able to export their high quality seed around the world and it was great to be able to discuss this with Mrs Leadsom in person.”