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2012 farming income hit by bad weather Egypt prefers British seed potatoes

SCOTLAND'S total income from farming (TIFF) fell by £111 million to £635m in 2012, a drop of 15% on the previous year, according to the latest figures published by Scotland's Chief Statistician.

A big question mark hangs over the accuracy of the figures, as last year's were revised upwards by £150m, or 25% more than the original forecast.

The forecasted disappointing financial results were blamed on bad weather that hammered farm output, soaring costs and exchange rates that reduced support payment values.

Costs rose £252m (10%) from £2.41 billion in 2010 to £2.66bn in 2011, and by an estimated £46m (3%) to £2.71bn in 2012.

In total, costs of production to Scottish farming are reckoned to be up by almost £300m in 24 months.

The size of European Union farm support payments and subsidies are mainly dependent upon the euro exchange rate applied to them.

The Single Farm Payment decreased only marginally in 2011, but fell by £45m (8%) from £602m in 2011 to £557m in 2012.

BRITISH seed potatoes are grown in more than 50 countries worldwide, with Egypt a long-time major export destination, accounting for around 40% of total seed exported.

Even though GB seed export tonnage is still being calculated for the 2012/2013 season, official statistics confirm that GB is now the EU's leading source of seed potatoes to Egypt.

Exports of British seed have been increasing steadily for the last 10 years, but with last season's challenging conditions, it would not have been a surprise if export quantities had dropped.

However, the opposite has proved to be the case with exports exceeding the 2011/12 season.

Forty-one thousand tonnes have been exported to Egypt so far this season, with figures still increasing.

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