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PepsiCo scraps Scottish seed potato exports to Russia

PepsiCo scraps Scottish seed potato exports to Russia. Courtesy: Tim Scrivener

A deal to export 2,000t of Scottish seed potatoes to Russia has been scrapped by PepsiCo following criticism of the arrangement. The food and drinks company said "a couple of lorries" had already left Scottish farms this week, but following discussion with growers, the decision had been made to stop future shipments.

Aberdeenshire-based Saltire Seed was supplying the large shipment of potatoes, but growers are said to have been uncomfortable and wanted an alternative market for their produce. The contract with PepsiCo was reportedly worth GBP 600,000 (about USD 785,529) but the food and drinks giant confirmed no Scottish farmers will be out of pocket.

A PepsiCo spokesperson:
 
"We discussed this with our Scottish farmers and have made the decision to discontinue further shipments. Our motivation has always been to support our farmers and avoid damaging future food production."

"Together we have agreed that we will not continue with the shipment and that we will find another way forward for these seeds. We will explore all possible options as we, like our farmers, do not want their efforts to have gone to waste."
In the Scottish Parliament on Thursday (24 March), MSP Sue Webber put pressure on the government to stop the exports. The Scottish government said it does not approve plant export deals but is required to inspect and provide certification for shipments.

A PepsiCo spokesperson:
 
"We have led calls for businesses to disinvest in Russia as a result of the invasion of Ukraine and have communicated this very clearly to the seed potato suppliers concerned. The Scottish government and its economic agencies will use all available powers not to support trade and investment activity with Russia."
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