Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Questions (507)

Lisa Chambers


507. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if contingency plans have been put in place for the supply of potatoes in the event of a no-deal Brexit in view of the fact that Ireland is one of the largest importers of UK potatoes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5555/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

Under Annex III of EU Plant Health Directive 2000/29/EC, seed potatoes are banned from entering the EU from third countries, with the exception of Switzerland. Switzerland has equivalency in terms of applying the EU Plant Health Directive.

Trader notices have issued to the Potato trade in this regard, and all advice to Irish growers is to ensure that UK seed is supplied before the end of March in order to facilitate the 2019 planting season. There will then be at least another 9 months before the 2020 planting season for the European Commission to consider requests from the UK for amendment to Annex III of the Plant Health directive based on a detailed scientific justification as to why the amendment is warranted.

Under that same EU Plant Health Directive, ware potatoes (for consumption) are banned from entering the EU from third countries, with certain exceptions. For ware potatoes to enter the EU from the UK in a no deal exit scenario, all consignments of such potatoes must be accompanied by a Phytosanitary Certificate issued by the UK Plant Health authorities and notified in advance, on the basis of being a third country recognised as free from Clavibacter michiganensis ssp. Sepedonicus (Ring Rot), as well as complying with EU Plant Health Directive Annex IV requirements for various other pests and diseases. These procedures are well established for other third countries trading into Ireland.