The recently adopted Plant Reproductive Material (PRM) file was top of the agenda when an NFU delegation attended and spoke at a Copa Cogeca Workshop this week.
They met to discuss the future direction of the Seeds Marketing Legislation.
The file is designed to simplify and update the current Seeds Marketing legislation. It forms part of what has now become known as the Five Part Package, encompassing Animal Health, Plant Health, PRM and the costs associated with official controls on farm. The NFU has previously welcomed the review which provides a timely opportunity to update seeds legislation that has not been reviewed for 40 years.
However, the package is at risk of losing focus and emphasis on the real issues of food, feed and energy security as MEPs have come under enormous pressure from NGOs and amateur growers concerned about the potential for prohibitive burden on exchanges of seed and the maintenance of traditional varieties.
The NFU called for a refocusing and clarification of the original aims of the file. They argued that the potential delay in the files progression was due to undue emphasis on areas that were not relevant in the discussion and offered little in the way of importance to future levels of food security, a stated aim of the European Commission at the outset.
Instead, the debate must be placed in the context of what is needed on farm to help sustainably raise the level of production. With levels of plant protection products expected to decline to 15 - 20 per cent of current levels by 2020, no access to the latest available biotech and increasing levels of burden being faced on farm, the importance of plant breeding and availability of appropriate seeds on farm have never been more important.
The NFU delegation called for more resource to be spent updating the legislation to reflect the requirements when sourcing and moving seed within contract farming businesses and other business structures. Also to ensure the law better reflects the consolidation that has taken place on farm and across the rest of the agricultural industry.