British seed potato producers are considering Cuba as an export destination after recent meetings with government officials in the country.
While British producers are technically able to export to Cuba they have not been able to take advantage of this market due to a lack of awareness on how to get products into the country.
However, fresh discussions have led to the development of a clear process for exporting product into Cuba.
Like Britain, Cuba has only one potato season per year and with poor or absent storage facilities stocks don’t last long, which means harvest season is celebrated across the country.
Presently, Cuba currently imports 17,000 tonnes of seed mainly from the Netherlands and France. Canada used to be a supplier but in recent years European sources have been preferred.
According to Rob Burns, AHDB Heads of Crops Export, Britain is looked on favourably by the Cuban Government due to a high health status.
Mr Burns said: “This a good potential market for us and during our visit to the country officials said that the Cuban Government is keen to expand their portfolio of seed supplies and would welcome imports from Great Britain.
“With this in mind we also met with Alimport, the company owned by the Cuban Government which facilitates the importation of all crop products into Cuba.
“These discussions have allowed us to draft a straightforward export procedure, supported by Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA), and already British exporters have said they will take advantage of it,” he added.
Any British exporter looking for new markets should consider this opportunity, Mr Burns said.
If growers are interested in nominating crops for Cuban exports they are urged to compile a list to send to SASA by the end of June, and SASA will work with Cuba's export company Alimport to identify Cuban companies looking for British seed.
The Cuban market is seen as having good potential for British businesses. Wheat from the UK could also begin exporting to Cuba if mutual interests and conditions between the two countries are successfully met.