British seed exports to Egypt fell by six per cent during the last year following new last-minute tuber sizing restrictions.
Total exports still reached 50,000 tonnes, with industry body AHDB Potatoes reporting that the season was better than expected. There had been fears that the last-minute changes to standards would damage British firms, as Egypt takes around 60 per cent of UK seed potato exports.
Head of seed exports at AHDB Potatoes, Rob Burns, said the organisation is focusing on new markets, to ensure British exports have a wide portfolio of destinations available.
India and Sub Saharan Africa are two new markets the AHDB is looking at opening, Burns continued, with good potential in India in particular, due to the poor quality of available domestic seed in the country.
“India currently takes mini tubers and micro plants, but we hope to have full access in a couple of years,” he said. “Kenya should be open in the near future, and we are in talks with importing agencies there. If you open up Kenya you open up other local markets as well.”
In addition, AHDB Potatoes is looking at negotiating more relaxed plant health standards for seed exports to Brazil, while exporting to Russia remains challenging due to low volumes and the need for Russian inspectors to visit exporting countries, Burns said.
Speaking at Fruit Logistica, taking place in Berlin this week (3-5 Feb), Burns also announced that the AHDB is hosting a trade mission for the Egyptian head of Administration for Plant Quarantine (CAPQ) this July.
“We will showcase the industry, through a planned tour of some exporters and the science institutes,” he added.