Tuesday, 04 Jun 2013
Since they arrived from South America into Europe in the 16th century, potatoes have become a staple food crop along with rice and wheat. Both seed and ware (eating) potatoes are exported between countries the world over. This widespread transportation means that produce hasto meet the different and often strict disease control regulations each country applies to its imports.
This is where Science & Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) comes in to help potato growers in Scotland, who exported more than 100,000 tonnes of seed potatoes around the world in 2011. Among the responsibilities of the Edinburgh-based government body is the certification of Scottish seed potatoes which ensures that the different varieties are pure and that disease levels are kept to a minimum. SASA advises Scotland’s 200-plus potato growers on the export regulations in target countries, like Egypt, Israel and Morocco. The department has 150 full time employees, as well as 100 seasonal inspectors
“Each country has its own regulations and tolerances for disease levels in seed potato shipments,” says Dr Triona Davey, Potato Export Liaison Officer for SASA. “Exporters come to us to ask about the requirements for different regionsand we work with them to make sure that they can meet the requirements.We also inspect all seed crops to make sure that the incidence of viral, bacterial and fungal diseases is acceptably low.”