Seed potatoes from Great Britain will be making their way to Vietnam thanks to a groundbreaking protocol signed by the authorities in both countries.
Officials from the Potato Council and from Scottish plant-health body SASA have been working with their counterparts from Vietnam to open up this new market.
Head of seed and export for Potato Council Robert Burns and Dr Triona Davey, plant health liaison at SASA, (both pictured in image gallery, right) have led the British negotiations advising and informing on specific phytosanitary conditions and the production of seed from GB, and emphasising the benefits that GB seed potatoes can offer Vietnamese growers and the supply chain.
Burns said: “The outward mission by Potato Council and SASA to Hanoi earlier this year led to the finalisation recently of the importation agreement between Great Britain and Vietnam – which is now signed - and we are absolutely delighted that this important new market is now accessible for GB’s seed growers and exporters.”
Now a Vietnamese delegation is due to visit Potato Council and SASA in September to observe British seed production at first hand, and will meet Potato Council and SASA plant-health teams, visit micro-propagation laboratories and mini-tuber production facilities, and view this season’s seed crops.
Until recently, potatoes ranked below production of other Vietnamese staples such as rice, maize and sweet potato with an average yield of potato crops in Vietnam of around 12 tonnes per hectare. A lack of high-quality seed is thought to have been one significant barrier to production efficiency and profitability in Vietnamese potato production.
Burns said: “Middle-class consumer numbers are rising in Far-Eastern markets and they are demanding potatoes in their diet. The British seed industry is now able to help Vietnamese growers increase the yields and quality of their potato crop by providing high-health, high-quality seed from Great Britain – already grown successfully in more than 50 countries.”