Could a delicious plate of chips be a luxury after Brexit?
Supplies of potatoes coming into Donegal in 2021 could be affected by a potential post-Brexit ban on the importation of spuds from the UK.
Many food businesses in this county, including chippers, use British potatoes for chips.
There are specific types of potatoes that are used in chippers and from January 1, UK table potatoes and seed potatoes might not match the EU food safety rules because the UK will be outside the legal framework of the EU's food safety requirements.
Chairman of the IFA's National Potato Committee, Thomas McKeown said if there is a Brexit no-deal outcome there will be no potatoes coming in to Donegal or anywhere else.
There are specific types of potatoes that are used in chippers and from Friday week, UK table potatoes and seed potatoes might not match the EU food safety rules because the UK will be outside the legal framework of the EU's food safety requirements.
If a deal was struck this would change. He revealed 70,000 to 80,000 tonnes of spuds were imported from the UK every year and a certain percentage of these ended up on plates in Donegal.
"If no-deal happens it will affect Donegal but there could also be an opportunity for local growers to supply the chip shops. The county is in the top five potato growing counties in Ireland and there has been a great tradition of growing spuds there.
Indeed people should be buying their spuds off their local suppliers.
Mr McKeown added farmers need to look at two main varieties, Markies and Maris Piper if they wanted to compete with the UK spuds
"The Potato Development Group involving IFA, Teagasc, Bord Bia and the Department of Agriculture have been promoting the growth of potatoes for chips but the uptake in Donegal is small. However in fairness, I know farmers in Donegal are very skillful at growing potatoes because of their involvement in the seed industry and as there definitely won't be any seed coming in with Brexit, deal or no-deal, they should look to revitalising this part of the industry," he said.
He added ever since the Brexit negotiations intensified he had received a lot of reaction to the fact so many of Ireland's potatoes were imported.
"People were giving out about the amount of English spuds we were using in our chip shops and why we weren't using more of our own so maybe this could be a wake up call for our spuds.”
So from January 1 if there's a no-deal Brexit we might have to pay more for our chips until we can grow more of our own.
They might cost more money ...but we'll still pay!
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