Seed World

Euroseeds Raises Serious Concerns Over COMAGRI Vote on New Rules for Plant Reproductive Material

The outcome of the European Parliament’s COMAGRI vote on the Commission’s proposal for new rules for Plant Reproductive Material (PRM) raises serious concerns with Europe’s plant breeders, seed producers and farmers, according to a press release from Euroseeds. 

The releases states: “While initial amendments proposed some important improvements of the Commission’s text, the report finally adopted today is seen as a step back for the Common Market for PRM that puts seed quality, plant health, customer information and official oversight for all seed and for all suppliers and users at risk. Euroseeds urgently calls upon the European Parliament to change course and develop alternative proposals for its plenary vote on the proposal in April.”

Garlich von Essen, Euroseeds Secretary General observed that “the initial European Commission’s proposal on Plant Reproductive Material (PRM) was striking a balance between principal common rules for all producers and all users, and of defined derogations and adaptation of standards for specific plant materials and markets, i.e. between seed security and seed diversity. 

“This balance now got lost in way too broad exemptions and lack of quality assurance, traceability and official oversight. This approach is not acceptable for Europe’s seed sector.”

Euroseeds emphasizes the critical importance of stringent official controls, adherence to plant health regulations, and comprehensive reporting duties concerning all plant reproductive material (PRM). These actions are vital for maintaining high product quality standards and minimizing the threats posed by pests and diseases to all stakeholders, including professional operators, farmers, and other PRM users.

“PRM is a key input for all agricultural production,” von Essen stresses. “And it is the one thing all professional farmers and vegetable growers, big or small, but also all gardeners and conservation start with. Exempting some material or groups from the scope, from seed quality and seed health assurance requirements, and from proper traceability and control therefore is just the opposite of what Europe should be doing.” 

The releases states: “Euroseeds therefore firmly opposes all proposals that exempt activities, operators, or materials from essential official oversight through the EU Official Controls and Plant Health Regulation as this undermines the integrity of the regulatory framework and risks eroding the high level of consumer trust in the sector and its products. Moreover, this is against the nearly unanimous efforts requested by COMAGRI to strengthen the Plant Health status in the EU.”

Euroseeds therefore sees an urgent need for significant amendments to the COMAGRI report to re-establish the balance between principal, binding requirements that constitute safeguards for all seed suppliers and seed users, and adapted rules and standards for specific materials and markets. 

“We call upon Members of the European Parliament to change course and amend the COMAGRI report accordingly. The current text is a step back, not forward, for Europe’s breeders and seed suppliers and for their customers, the farmers and growers in the EU,” von Essen said, adding the expectations of the European seed sector for the coming weeks up to the EP’s plenary vote scheduled for April.