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James Hutton Group welcomes UK-China seed potato deal

Potatoes (c) James Hutton Institute
"This agreement builds on sixteen years of sustained efforts by the James Hutton Institute and its forebears, looking for opportunities to translate science into commercial impact"

The James Hutton Institute and its commercial subsidiary, James Hutton Limited, have welcomed a deal which will allow the UK to export seed potato to China.

The agreement, signed by International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox during a recent visit to the country, is expected to bring major benefits to Scotland, with around 70% of the 100,000 tonnes of seed potatoes exported annually from the UK coming from Scottish farms.

The seed potato export market is already worth an annual £90 million to the UK, with some varieties fetching up to £900 per tonne.

China is the largest global consumer of potatoes in the world. As the country’s demand for potato-based foods grows apace, the humble spud is now China’s fourth staple crop after rice, corn and wheat.

UK Government Minister Lord Duncan said: “Scotland is known for high-quality food and drink exports, and our seed potatoes are renowned for their excellence and breeding through scientific institutions such as the James Hutton Institute in Dundee. Leaving the European Union means we can pursue an independent trade policy, and the quality of our exports will drive new trading opportunities like this one. Linking the world’s largest consumer of potatoes, China, with Scotland’s exceptional potato seed is a welcome next step for the UK on a global stage.”

The James Hutton Group and its predecessors have been historically involved in efforts to open the Chinese market to UK potato exports. More recent endeavours have aimed at closer research links between the two countries, including the establishment of a laboratory to conduct research related to potato breeding and genetics, controlling pests and diseases and sustainable production in China.

Dr Jonathan Snape, head of James Hutton Limited, added: “This agreement builds on sixteen years of sustained efforts by the James Hutton Institute and its forebears, looking for opportunities to translate science into commercial impact.

“In particular we are grateful to Dr Nigel Kerby, former Managing Director of Mylnefield Research Services, for his vision and persistence in pursuing closer potato trade links between China and the UK.”

Dr Nigel Kerby commented: “I am delighted to see the results of longstanding efforts to promote exports of UK seed potato to the Chinese market.

“This success is the product of a broad partnership between the two countries, including not just government agencies but also devolved administrations, research institutions and trade organisations including the China-Britain Business Council and AHDB Potatoes.”

Notes to editors:

James Hutton Limited, part of the James Hutton Group, commercialises the scientific expertise, intellectual property, facilities and resources of the James Hutton Institute. JHL offer commercial customers a comprehensive range of analytical, research and development, breeding, and consultancy services. JHL is a subsidiary of the James Hutton Institute, formed through a merger of Mylnefield Research Services Ltd and Macaulay Scientific Consulting Ltd.

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Printed from /news/james-hutton-group-welcomes-uk-china-seed-potato-deal on 13/04/24 01:46:33 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.