Conference to show how UK seed can take on the global market post-Brexit

Making the most of the global export market post-Brexit will be one of the major themes of this year’s Seed Industry Event held on November 15 in St Andrews.

The event – held once every two years – brings together a range of international experts on seed potatoes who update the industry on key issues such as plant health, exports and marketing.

This year, with just months to go before Brexit begins, the conference will offer a fresh perspective on international trade with speakers from the UK and Europe discussing what the future might hold for the UK seed trade.

“The British seed potato industry is one of our most outward-looking,” Rob Burns, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) head of crop market trade development, explains. “We successfully export our high-quality seed both within the UK, the EU and the rest of the world.

“However, Brexit could throw us a bit of a curveball and we want to make sure the industry is as prepared as possible for the potential changes ahead.”

Agenda

Raquel Izquierdo from the European Potato Trade Association will discuss how European counterparts see the role of British potatoes, future trading partnerships with or without the UK, and will ask whether our industry is fit for purpose and what our role in the global marketplace will be in the post-Brexit world.

AHDB exports director Phil Hadley will be on hand to answer some of those thorny questions in how the seed sector can access new and growing markets as well as highlighting some of the significant opportunities those markets present.

GB seed’s high health status is, of course, one of its main selling points, which is why that status is another major theme of this year’s event.

Claire Hodge, AHDB knowledge exchange manager, said: “Keeping our high health status requires investment and expertise from both the industry and the scientific community and this event gives us the opportunity to showcase that expertise and investment to those it most benefits.

“This year’s programme includes a keynote presentation from Gerry Sadler, chief plant health officer for Scotland and head of SASA. Gerry will discuss both his role and the new Centre of Excellence for Plant Health in Scotland, and outline how they are preparing for plant health challenges after Brexit.”

The conference will also feature a number of workshops where the latest research on key topics such as blackleg and aphid and virus will be revealed, and there will also be sessions on the Safe Haven Scheme and the benefits of benchmarking.