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Trade deal for seed potato exports to Kenya

17 November 2016

Scotland can now export seed potatoes to Kenya after a new trade agreement opened the market. 

The deal was announced by Scotland’s rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing, who said Kenya represents a “significant” new market, as the country currently only grows two per cent of its potatoes from certified seed. It follows a visit to Kenya by the Scottish government and AHDB Potatoes in early November to finalise the agreement.

“This is welcome news for the Scottish seed potato sector and further recognition of its global renown for producing high quality seed potatoes,” he said.

“Kenya grows around 160,000 hectares of potatoes annually but only two per cent 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."

Ewing said that Scottish exporters have had great success in recent years, but access to the European Single Market is essential for that to continue in places like Africa, in order “to avoid existing trade deals unravelling completely”.

Head of market development at AHDB Potatoes, Rob Burns, said: “We are proud to have worked in partnership with the Scottish Government to secure this exciting new opportunity. The seed potato sector is already particularly successful at exploiting overseas markets with roughly 30 per cent of the crop exported abroad and this agreement will only enhance our reputation for quality and high health.”

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.

Source: Fresh Produce Journal

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