Potato Crop: Wet Weather

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:45 pm on 22nd September 2020.

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Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP 2:45 pm, 22nd September 2020

I have had several submissions on that. I had a conversation yesterday, and I am to receive a further submission today. The chemicals regulation division (CRD) is the advisory body, and CRD has advised that we should not use it at this stage for a number of reasons. It has come from the European Union, in the first instance, that it is not something that it wishes to be used any longer. However, the recommended replacements are not working, and therein lies the problem. When farmers go to harvest their potatoes, they find that it has not done the job properly. Therefore, this year, I need to consider whether I can allow farmers to use diquat as a means to burn potatoes off. That is something that I am giving consideration to. I know that a number of countries in Europe have already given exceptional consideration to that and have granted its use.