We hope you have enjoyed the SRGC Forum. You can make a Paypal donation to the SRGC by clicking the above button

Author Topic: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements  (Read 98812 times)

Hillview croconut

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 694
  • Country: au
    • Hillview Rare Plants
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2013, 09:29:27 PM »
Hi,

I need to amend the second point. It will be illegal to grow, swap or trade plant seeds that are not registered with the Commission.

If I am wrong please someone enlighten me.

Could ANYONE enlighten me as to why this isn't the most shriekingly hot topic on the Forum? Could anyone enlighten me as to why I wouldn't be right to believe that this will mark the end of the SRGC seed exchange?

Marcus

Tim Ingram

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1955
  • Country: 00
  • Umbels amongst others
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2013, 09:45:13 PM »
Surely the whole point of laws are that you agree with them or challenge them. They work at the level of the individual. In Tasmania when there were proposals to dam the Franklin River people simply wrote 'No Dams' on their voting papers. In a free world I imagine one can collect seed in one's own garden, exchange them with like minded people, and grow plants and endeavour to sell them. What point would there be in making this illegal?
Dr. Timothy John Ingram. Nurseryman & gardener with strong interest in plants of Mediterranean-type climates and dryland alpines. Garden in Kent, UK. www.coptonash.plus.com

maggiepie

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1816
  • Country: ca
  • New Brunswick Canada, zone 4b
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2013, 10:27:59 PM »


Could ANYONE enlighten me as to why this isn't the most shriekingly hot topic on the Forum? Could anyone enlighten me as to why I wouldn't be right to believe that this will mark the end of the SRGC seed exchange?

Marcus

I certainly can't.
It occurs to me that if these laws pass then the only way to get seeds would be from the big seed companies ?
I can't even wrap my mind around how even the idea of these new laws came about.
I guess the 'who stands to gain' rule applies here.

 :'(

Helen Poirier, New Brunswick, Canada-Zone 4b

Hillview croconut

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 694
  • Country: au
    • Hillview Rare Plants
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2013, 10:59:17 PM »
Hi again,

I am looking at this from afar so I don't have all the facts.

Tim I think the intention of the regulations and the outcomes they produce are two different things. The scope and definitions in the currently proposed regulations need to be amended so that unintended damage does not result.
There needs to be a rethink about the range of stakeholders affected and what are the consequences.

At present I can't tell if you, for instance, will be able to commercially trade a cultivar of say a geranium that you have bred without first registering the name and description with the EC. This apparently will cost you around 500 pounds. If you don't do this you and you sell it commercially you will be liable for prosecution. Even more absurd, you may be liable for selling a variety, say, Geranium Johnstons Blue, that's commonly been in the trade for Yonks if somebody hasn't submitted a registered description.
Likewise if the SRGC lists Cyclamen coum Maurice Dryden on its seed exchange or Geranium sanguineum Cedric Morris, or even Nomocharis x finlayorum .... is it liable for prosecution?

From my reading I am not even sure if pure species are exempt .... ANYONE any ideas?

Cheers, Marcus

Garden Prince

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 97
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #19 on: November 24, 2013, 07:30:57 AM »
Could ANYONE enlighten me as to why this isn't the most shriekingly hot topic on the Forum? Could anyone enlighten me as to why I wouldn't be right to believe that this will mark the end of the SRGC seed exchange?

There has been opposition to the proposed new seed regulations of the EU in many countries. See for example:

http://www.seed-sovereignty.org/EN/

But there are many more, a lot written in the language of the country itself.

The opposition has been mainly concerned with seeds of commercial foodcrops. I think this is because the big corporations (like Monsato) that are in favor of the proposed new legislation are mainly active in this field.

I think many people do not realize what the possible  implications of the proposed new legislation can be for ornamental gardening.

The Dutch parliament approved a motion against the new seed regulation in May 2013.

« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 07:35:05 AM by Garden Prince »

Hillview croconut

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 694
  • Country: au
    • Hillview Rare Plants
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2013, 08:39:00 AM »
Hi,

thanks for the information.  I too have seen much opposition to these proposed regulatory changes but does anyone know how the UK members of these committees are feeling about this? Do they care?  If not why not?  Has anyone contacted any of the committee members an expressed an opinion?  Has the SRGC officialy approached these committees and made a formal submission?  A list of committee members is published on the Plant Heritage Society as well as a draft letter that interested people can use to register their opposition.

Cheers,  Marcus

Garden Prince

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 97
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2013, 10:25:19 AM »
I have looked into this topic somewhat further.

In late October 2013 the amendments to the new EU seed laws were published. You can find them at this link:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+COMPARL+PE-514.766+01+DOC+PDF+V0//EN&language=EN

As I read these amendments (not for the faint hearted, 55 pages of tawdry jargon) seed exchanges like those of the SRGC are allowed under the ammended rules (because non-commercial).  What this exactly means for small scale commercial seed sellers of ornamental plants is  not quite clear to me. Maybe a lawyer should look into this. My gut feeling says that it will be allowed to sell seeds of plants that are not protected by Plant Breeders' Rights. But I could of course be wrong.

The European Seed Association (ESA),  which represents the big commercial firms like Monsanto and Syngenta, is against the amendments.

Margaret

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 264
  • Country: 00
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2013, 10:55:54 AM »
Oh dear, only just read this thread. The standard letter of objection on the Plant Heritage site (attached) does not fit SRGC members very well. I started to amend it but find I don't know enough about the Clubs activities (shame on me!)  If anyone thinks it is a good idea to send please could they help with the necessary amendments. Draft below

pilar.ayuso@europarl.europa.eu, martina.anderson@europarl.europa.eu, martin.callanan@europarl.europa.eu, chris@chrisdaviesmep.org.uk, jill.evans@europarl.europa.eu, nick.griffin@europarl.europa.eu, linda.mcavan@europarl.europa.eu, paul.nuttall@europarl.europa.eu, glenis.willmott@europarl.europa.eu, marina.yannakoudakis@europarl.europa.eu, godfrey.bloom@europarl.europa.eu, vicky.ford@europarl.europa.eu, jacqueline.foster@europarl.europa.eu, julie.girling@europarl.europa.eu, james.nicholson@europarl.europa.eu, struan.stevenson@europarl.europa.eu, rebecca.taylor@europarl.europa.eu, sergio.silvestris@europarl.europa.eu, johnstuart.agnew@europarl.europa.eu, diane.dodds@europarl.europa.eu, julie.girling@europarl.europa.eu, george.lyon@europarl.europa.eu, james.nicholson@europarl.europa.eu, alyn.smith@europarl.europa.eu, richard.ashworth@europarl.europa.eu, john.bufton@europarl.europa.eu, jill.evans@europarl.europa.eu, anthea.mcintyre@europarl.europa.eu, brian.simpson@europarl.europa.eu, 

 
Re: Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL On the production and making available on the market of plant reproductive material (plant reproductive material law)
/* COM/2013/0262 final - 2013/0137 (COD) */
 
 
Dear Member
 
I am writing as a member of the Scottish Rock Gardening Club, a charitable organisation that has for the last 80 years worked to conserve the biodiversity of plants in cultivation in the UK.
 
As you are aware the European Commission is looking to combine 12 existing EU directives on the production and marketing of plant reproductive material (which includes everything from seeds to young plants) into a single simpler regulation: The Commission proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the production and making available on the market of plant reproductive material (plant reproductive material law) (COM(2013) 262 final).
 
It has been stated that there is no intention to introduce tighter rules for ornamentals. However, industry representatives have identified that the worst-case scenario for the current proposed regulation could prove devastating for nurseries and growers. A new requirement that any plant marketed as a cultivar or variety needs to have an ‘officially recognised description’ has been proposed and the concern is that the vast costs of developing, maintaining and monitoring these officially recognised descriptions for the estimated 75,000+ ornamental plant varieties currently on sale in the UK would prove impossible to meet. The Royal Horticultural Society Plant Finder lists over around 52,000 plant cultivars marketed solely in the UK; of these around 2,000 cultivars already have an official description that conforms to the requirements. The RHS Plant Finder does not include non-terrestrial orchids, cacti or annual and seed cultivars.  There are, at a conservative estimate, more than 75,000 ornamental plant taxa for sale in the UK. The result of imposing this requirement for an officially recognised description would potentially be a massive reduction in the number of cultivars grown for sale in the UK.
 
Many of the 12 existing directives covering the marketing of seed and propagating material contain listed genera and species to which more rigorous requirements apply. These listed genera and species, are carried across into Annex 1 of the current Commission proposal. There is no indication that Annex 1 taxa will be considered solely under the use under which they were originally listed (for example Castanea as a forest tree, rather than an ornamental or a food plant), so it appears possible that the more rigorous application will be followed for all uses.
 
 The current proposal makes the rules with respect to ornamental plant material significantly more onerous than the previous directive, as it removes the options to market varieties that are 'commonly known', or entered with a detailed description on a supplier list (catalogue). Instead, the minimum requirement under the proposed regulation would be to list an officially recognised description onto a public or private list.  This is neither proportionate, nor sustainable for an industry which is already under great financial pressure. It is likely to result in a dramatic cut in the number of cultivars available to gardeners, and thus create a loss of biodiversity. Precisely what the UK has agreed to prevent under the Aichi Biodiversity Targets: (http://www.cbd.int/sp/targets/).
 
In addition to concerns about the wider horticultural industry as noted above, relating more narrowly to cultivated plant conservation, we have the following worries: It is stated in the proposals that the regulations do not apply to ‘material intended to be or maintained in gene banks organisations and networks of ex-situ and in-situ or on-farm conservation of genetic resources’. However it appears that ‘professional operators’ (defined as ‘any natural or legal person carrying out as a profession at least one of the following activities with regard to the plant reproductive material a) producing, b) breeding, c) maintaining, d) providing services, e) preserving, including storing, f) making available on the market) are all subject to the legislation.
It seems from our perspective that an assumption has been made that the only bodies that carry out conservation work are organisations like botanic gardens or networks developed purely for that purpose.
 
An organisation like the Scottish Rock Gardening Club which has worldwide membership and encompasses some smaller commercial operators  has not been considered. However it is unlikely that the conservation of cultivars would be possible on such a scale if it were not for some form of commercial involvement; after all in many cases that is why they were created in the first place.
 
We are therefore very concerned that the changes will affect the profitability of horticulture, if not the existence of the ornamental plant trade in its current form; and in addition not protect those in the industry who are conserving plants; thus meaning that conservation of plants becomes the preserve of only botanic gardens and individuals with no commercial involvement, and the concomitant loss of biodiversity that this would cause.
 
Yours sincerely

Margaret Turner


 
 
 
 
« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 02:13:40 PM by Maggi Young »
Margaret
Greenwich

Hillview croconut

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 694
  • Country: au
    • Hillview Rare Plants
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2013, 11:09:27 AM »
The whole idea of having to register with the EC seeds of plants that you or I want to grow is a ludicrous proposition.  It should be restricted to crops and farmers and not rolled out to include ornamentals. If anyone has taken the time to read Michael Wickenden's piece on PBR you will see the same backsliding MO. Who wants this?  Anyone apart from the big end of town and the bureaucrats in Brussels?  I haven't heard a good word for it bit somehow inexorably it rolls on.

If anyone has the time read the latest blog post from Noel Kingsbury and his piece in the Telegraph and you will get a fairly dismal picture as to where all this is going.

Thanks for the link - will take a look.

Cheers,  M

Hillview croconut

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 694
  • Country: au
    • Hillview Rare Plants
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2013, 11:31:48 AM »
Dear Margaret,

Garden Prince has pointed to recent amendments that exclude organizations like the SRGC from the general thrust of the regulations pertaining to seed exchange so there is probably no need to tailor your own letter of complaint in this regard.

However the more pressing issue is the support of small specialist nurseries who will be gobbled up by the insane registration requirements for plant varieties.  If this is allowed to go ahead not only will the UK lose many of these types of businesses but it will lose a great chunk of its garden heritage because many heirloom varieties are kept in existence by small commercial enterprises.  Diversity will be lost as well as the "engine room" of new plant varieties, that is small small scale horticulture,  will be lost to cold hand of bureaucratic interference.

Cheers,  Marcus

Margaret

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 264
  • Country: 00
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2013, 12:12:29 PM »

Thank you, Marcus. I will just sent a personal email from an avid plant collector.  These guys are going to have bulging in boxes! ;D
Margaret
Greenwich

Maggi Young

  • Forum Dogsbody
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43967
  • Country: scotland
  • "There's often a clue"
    • International Rock Gardener e-magazine
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

Maggi Young

  • Forum Dogsbody
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43967
  • Country: scotland
  • "There's often a clue"
    • International Rock Gardener e-magazine
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2013, 01:22:08 PM »
People I have spoken too describe this proposed legislation as a "thin end of the wedge"  - I fear they may be right. While it is hopeful that organisations such as SRGC.  VRV, NRV, AGS and so on would be exempt from such regulations- if little or  no feedback is received from us then it will be easier for those in favour of thes measures to spread their net wider. 
Why would that happen ? Simply because it can.
Could protests make a difference?
Yes, we have seen success in other campaigns- but for people to rally to a cause they first need to know it exists!
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

Maggi Young

  • Forum Dogsbody
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 43967
  • Country: scotland
  • "There's often a clue"
    • International Rock Gardener e-magazine
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2013, 03:28:42 PM »
Photo of the note from the November copy of RHS  The Garden:


http://tinyurl.com/cdnd2kc - this is the link to the original 147 page paper

 http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+COMPARL+PE-514.766+01+DOC+PDF+V0//EN&language=EN    this is the link to the 28th October  55 page  draft report on the paper
« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 03:31:45 PM by Maggi Young »
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

Tim Ingram

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1955
  • Country: 00
  • Umbels amongst others
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2013, 06:49:02 PM »
This proposed legislation filtered down to our Kent HPS AGM today and whilst Noel Kingsbury is probably right that many small scale nurseries and individuals will remain under the radar, and Coen Jansen that 'you don't eat the soup whilst it is hot', there seems an attack on free will in the divide between big business and the smaller scale. In many European countries agriculture and horticulture retains some of its smaller scale roots that you see in mixed farms and local produce - some may feel this is valuable to retain. A garden/specialist nursery is a resource like any other, but inevitably not on the scale of farms and much larger commercial nurseries, so is impossible to treat in the same way. It seems highly likely that mistakes in names (whether accidental or deliberate) will remain just as much as they do now simply due to the general cussedness that results from regulations! Hopefully some reason will prevail.
Dr. Timothy John Ingram. Nurseryman & gardener with strong interest in plants of Mediterranean-type climates and dryland alpines. Garden in Kent, UK. www.coptonash.plus.com

 


Scottish Rock Garden Club is a Charity registered with Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR): SC000942
SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal