Alexander Harley Seeds has expanded its potato seed activities through the acquisition of a potato breeding programme owned by a South Yorkshire integrated potato supply business.

The Harley Group has developed its potato seed business since 1979 under the Cygnet brand, with Cygnet PB covering plant breeding, multiplication and domestic sales; and export marketing carried out through Cygnet PEP (a joint venture between Harleys and Pan European Potatoes).

Its latest move is the purchase of the high grade seed potato assets and breeding programme of Higgins Agriculture, headquartered at Finningley near Doncaster. Higgins also has an office in Norfolk, with the potato seed operation based at Elgin in Morayshire and its European business run from Lille in France.

 “The acquisition further strengthens Cygnet-PEP’s position in the export of Scottish seed potatoes to North Africa and the Middle and Far East, while the purchase of the breeding programme adds a strong processing focus to Cygnet PB’s variety development programme,” states a Harley spokesman. “The purchase includes several clones currently going through National Listing tests in the UK and on trial with several packing and processing businesses both here and overseas.”