Apr 16, 2024
Europatat raises concerns about plant reproductive material report

The European Potato Trade Association (Europatat) is raising concerns about a draft report on plant reproductive material (PRM) set for a vote in the European Parliament’s Plenary next week.

The report, prepared by the Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRI Committee), includes amendments Europatat said could have negative consequences on the EU PRM market. The proposed amendments will allow for a substantial part of PRM material to move around the EU without oversight and without proper plant health checks, according to the association.

“There’s a critical difference between various types of PRM,” Peter Ton, chair of the Europatat Seed Potato Commission, said in a news release. “Seed potatoes and regular seeds have distinct characteristics and require different handling procedures. Seed potatoes carry a higher risk of spreading plant diseases, especially when transported over long distances.

“The Parliament’s position needs to acknowledge these differences. Uncontrolled movement of seed potatoes across the EU would be detrimental and have serious consequences.”

To address these and other concerns, a coalition of stakeholders representing the PRM sector and its users in the EU, including Copa-Cogeca, Euroseeds, Europatat, Coceral, the European Beet Growers and CEPM Maiz’Europe, co-signed a joint statement emphasizing the importance of maintaining the balance achieved in the original proposal from the European Commission.  They argue that the AGRI Committee report compromises this balance by introducing exemptions that could allow unchecked PRM to reach the market without proper assurances or traceability.

“This, in all likelihood, would lead to the establishment of a parallel, uncontrolled market that undermines the efforts of plant breeders and farmers to increase sustainability while ensuring food security in Europe,” the statement said. “We urge the European Parliament’s Plenary to reconsider the amendments and revert back to the Commission’s original proposal to avoid future crisis.”

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