Europe, UK, Ireland, News April 2024, Seed

European potato sector sounds alarm over new seed marketing rules ahead of Parliament vote

A European Parliament push to ease new EU rules on seed marketing has sparked concern in the potato sector, as stakeholders warn that the draft legislation could increase the transmission risks of crop diseases, as Sofia Sanchez Manzanaro reports for Euractiv.

Initially presented by the European Commission last July, the new regulation replaces ten EU directives that currently lay down rules for the production and marketing of Plant Reproductive Material (PRM), including a 2002 directive on the marketing of seed potatoes.

The position adopted by the Parliament’s Agriculture Committee (AGRI), authored by Italian MEP Herbert Dorfmann of the European People’s Party (EPP), goes beyond the exemptions proposed by the Commission for certain seed exchanges, and suggests relaxing the rules further.

For Europatat, the organisation representing the interests of European potato and potato seed traders, AGRI’s position overlooks the specificities of this crop, which could have “serious consequences” for the sector.

“All these exceptions could create a parallel market of seeds,” Romans Vorss, Europatat’s technical affairs director, told Euractiv.

Just like commercial potatoes, seed potatoes have soil attached, which can carry plant diseases. Wireworms, beetle larvae digging holes in the tuber leading to production losses, are the main concerns for producers all over Europe.

In 2021, this pest caused a loss of 30,000 tons in Austria, 10% of the country’s potato production — and climate change is worsening the situation.

Source: Euractiv. Read the full story here
Image: Credit Ekaterina from Pixabay

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