New varieties and higher quality are seen as a way to end a 20-year decline in Northern Ireland's seed potato industry.
The decline has seen the area used for growing seed fall from 4,000 hectares in 1980 to 1,000 hectares.
Jim Crummie of the Dept. of Agriculture supply chain development division, told a conference at Greenmount College that the fall in hectares had accompanied a similar fall in export markets-from 90,000 tons in 1980 to 11,000 tons last year.
Crummie said the decline could be attributed to increased competition and a lack of new varieties.
Crummie said growers should support the search for new improved varieties to keep ahead of the competition. He said trials and demonstration plots had indicated there now are varieties in the pipeline that will attract overseas buye