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 99971 times)

Maggi Young

  • Forum Dogsbody
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 44011
  • Country: scotland
  • "There's often a clue"
    • International Rock Gardener e-magazine
Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« on: August 21, 2013, 04:18:09 PM »

Do we feel strongly about keeping plants growing and flowering?

Australian growers will be aware of continuing regulations being imposed on the importation of seed etc.  Now Western Australia is proposing yet another layer of regulation - and cost -  on gardeners, amateur and professional alike.

As Marcus Harvey of Tasmania says:
"Some people get terribly troubled by conflict but  this is a very important issue for all Australian gardeners. And it does have a sting in the tail for overseas specialist organizations like the SRGC. From now on any WA members must pay the Western Australian government $56 to receive their seeds DESPITE them already being inspected and cleared at the Federal level."
 
This is an article by Marcus  online:
http://gardendrum.com/2013/08/21/western-australias-new-plant-import-fees/

Further notes from Marcus:

The decision to charge home gardeners Western Australia- Marcus Harvey

The decision to charge home gardeners $56, for what in the most part are simple
inspections, is short-sighted and monumentally unfair to home gardeners because it
effectively prices them out of the import process. I have set out detailed reasons why this is
a bad decision and why it needs to be reversed.

Massive Price Hike on Gardeners
This fee charge leaps from zero to $56 with immediate effect, with no warning and no
gradual introduction. This is massive slug (a 500% increase) on those who have no choice but to use the system. By point of comparison NO other state imposes a similar inspection fee on home gardeners. Even the Federal agency (DAFF),which has the central and far more
complex task of defending Australia's national borders, charges less for the same block of
inspection time.

Fails to discriminate between Amateur Gardeners and Professional Horticulturalists
This fee applies equally to both amateur gardeners pursuing a hobby and professional
horticulturalists who are businessman. This is a grossly unfair situation. Professional
horticulturists can achieve economies of scale by importing large volumes thus reducing the
impact of the fee and they can also claim such costs as a tax deduction. The home gardener
(whose purchases in most cases would not even exceed $56) can do neither and is left facing a very disproportionate impact.

Unreasonable Fees Will Undermine Biosecurity
An "onside" gardening public is a powerful force for good in maintaining strong biosecurity.
However when fees are perceived as unfair and unreasonable civil disobedience will
inevitably follow resulting in increased illegal importations. Such activities will undermine
the State's biosecurity not improve it. This is a perverse and counterproductive outcome for
a fee increase that, to quote the department, "is essential to protect Western Australia's
borders".

Most of the hard work has been done already
All plants imported into WA arise either from quality assurance schemes or have passed
through quarantine protocols that the State proscribes. These processes were established to
achieve efficiencies and high standard biosecurity outcomes. They are paid for by the
exporters and the biosecurity agencies in those exporting states. It is therefore staggering
that the WA's Department of Agriculture and Food, which it already greatly benefits from
this arrangement, seeks to extract a further massive fee from a system to which it
contributes no additional services.

Tax on Gardening is an Attack on Positive Community Values
Gardening is widely regarded as a social good. It is strongly correlated with positive health
outcomes, community engagement and pro-environmental behavior. This recent price slug
on gardeners is in effect a tax on positive community values and diminishes a powerful force
for social good.

Unjustifiable Interference in the Free Market

Massive fee increases inevitably lead to price rises and a reduction in the range of products
on offer to the market. Smaller specialists are forced out, consumers are compelled to
purchase from a limited range of suppliers and oligopolistic behaviour is favoured. In this
scenario gardeners and the gardening market in WA are unjustifiably worse off when
compared with any other Australian state and this raises the question of undue interference
on free trade.

Narrow Focus leads to Poor Outcomes
This recent fee increase is at best, either a fund-raising exercise, or at worst, a "backdoor"
deterrent. Whatever it is it appears have little to do with simple cost recovery. Perhaps if the department was more adequately funded then it would be less focused on itself and be
more proactive in producing good policy outcomes for all of the stakeholders and not just
the chosen few? Perhaps if it actively sought more internal efficiencies it would not have to
gouge its clients? For example, what about abandoning the WA approved list, which is
extraordinarily inefficient, and opt for the ready-made federally funded system with a locally determined prohibited list (as all the other states do)?

Biosecurity benefits EVERYONE and Gardeners should not be asked to pay a
Disproportionate Price

Biosecurity benefits EVERYONE and the gardening community should not be made pay a
disproportionate price to continue to pursue their interests. Their activities are miniscule in
comparison to other stakeholders, like for example, agribusiness and large-scale horticulture. I have heard that the department is entering into special arrangements with
exporters in other states to reduce the impact. This is just another dreadful example of cost
shifting onto a group who already pay most of the present costs associated with export to
your state. These are bad decisions because they are highly unfair and inequitable. West
Australian gardeners and the garden community should not be treated as cash cows. Nor
should their right to fair treatment be completely ignored and as such be delegitimized.

--------------------------

As another Australian member says :

It may not be affecting you directly at this stage but if it goes un-protested there it could easily be adopted by other states which would spell the end of bringing seeds into Australia, which could also affect groups which have seed exchanges such as the AGS, SRGC, NZAGS and NARGS.

It has been suggested that an online petition could be started by the Aussies to protest this and letters written to Australian  parliamentary representatives.

These measures, and others like them around the world, will seriously impact the legitimate exchange of garden seed between gardeners around the world - be aware of what regulations may be being mooted in YOUR area, and organisations like ours will be  the poorer for them.


« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 04:26:58 PM by Maggi Young »
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: 44011
  • Country: scotland
  • "There's often a clue"
    • International Rock Gardener e-magazine
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2013, 04:36:38 PM »
The European Union  is working on regulations that, while allowing some limited leeway for amateur gardeners, might still end up having a draconian effect on the likes of our Seed Exchanges.
The proposals from this Spring(all 147 pages of them!) are shown here :
 http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/health_consumer/pressroom/docs/proposal_aphp_en.pdf 

There's a more simple explanation here : http://www.realseeds.co.uk/seedlaw.html   and here :
http://www.naturalnews.com/040214_seeds_european_commission_registration.html


A petition, such as has been suggested for the Western Australia situation,  has been raised for the EU  :
http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/We_dont_accept_this_Let_us_keep_our_seeds_EU

« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 04:38:42 PM by Maggi Young »
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

arillady

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1955
  • Country: au
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2013, 11:12:15 PM »
I have just posted a link to this thread on facebook where it will certainly reach more people. I hope this helps more than it might bring scammers out.
Pat Toolan,
Keyneton,
South Australia

Neil

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 621
  • Country: england
  • Hardy Orchid Grower
    • The Hardy Orchid Society
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2013, 11:22:59 PM »
All it will mean is it will go underground,
Interested in Hardy Orchids then join The Hardy Orchid Society
Wanted Hardy Orchid Seed please pm me if you have some that you can spare
Sussex, England, UK Zone 9a

Maggi Young

  • Forum Dogsbody
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 44011
  • Country: scotland
  • "There's often a clue"
    • International Rock Gardener e-magazine
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2013, 11:00:01 AM »
Quote
All it will mean is it will go underground


That is one of the daft things about these draconian regulations made  with no regards to legitimate things like the organised seed exchanges - organisations like SRGC, AGS, NZAGS, NARGS and so on will be closed down and some people will  move to "underground" attempts and end up as law breakers.
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

Hillview croconut

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 694
  • Country: au
    • Hillview Rare Plants
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2013, 01:01:43 PM »
Hi Maggi,

I recently read a piece in The Garden about this crazy scheme for disallowing seeds that weren't registered.

This is yet another example of the point I was trying to make in my article: there is a massive disconnect between what gardeners do and what governments and business do. And it is becoming increasingly apparent to anyone watching these things that gardeners are not considered legitimate stakeholders and are becoming increasingly marginalized. Some of this is because we are not organized around a common goal of  optimizing our self interest or defending it. As a result our interests, our activities and our opinions are "below the radar" to those who have other powerful agendas.

Cheers, Marcus

PS Sadly us gardeners run a very poor second to more sharply focused groups like organic farming and permaculture.

Hillview croconut

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 694
  • Country: au
    • Hillview Rare Plants
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2013, 01:13:50 PM »
I will add one final observation. One powerful reason why this situation has arisen is because "the market" determines all. All of us are now regarded as passive consumers rather than active participants. If you don't have a business number or a lobby group you don't have a right. I'll stick my neck out here and venture to suggest that's why many people in the UK feel disappointed in the EU and want their government to leave.

John Kitt

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 128
  • The Spent Gardener
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2013, 12:40:47 AM »
This certainly seems like a genuine issue that Garden Clubs of Australia might take up on behalf of its 800 odd Garden Clubs and probably more than 30,000 members.  It seems to me that they do little more than arrange Club Insurance and publish a magazine.  If there are other GCA members reading this Forum, the Secretary is John Graham  (galstongardens@gmail.com)
I'll send you a separate email over the weekend Marcus re this.

John

Maggi Young

  • Forum Dogsbody
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 44011
  • Country: scotland
  • "There's often a clue"
    • International Rock Gardener e-magazine
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2013, 06:25:51 PM »
These two papers are related to the main subject of the thread

Plant Hunting.
The text of a talk on the legal restrictions on plant hunting given by Michael Wickenden at the Museum of Garden History, Lambeth, London on 1st October 2012. ( Download as a pdf)

The Nurseryman as Plant-Hunter

Plant Breeders Rights

Michael Wickenden is to be  featured in 'Gardener's World' BBC TV programme 23/08/13
« Last Edit: August 23, 2013, 06:42:16 PM by Maggi Young »
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

John Kitt

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 128
  • The Spent Gardener
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2013, 01:26:02 AM »
 Maggie,
Your post on this issue and in particular the issue of Plant Breeders Rights rang some warning bells for me and I have done just a little research. (I don't want this to be a long diatribe).  In Australia, and I guess in other countries, there is Plant Breeders Rights legislation that protects the intellectual property of breeders (good thing). It also prohibits unlawful sale of these plants for profit.  My concern is that Garden Clubs all over Australia, mine included, operate a "trade table" at meetings and members donate plants etc  for sale.  I don't know whether I am drawing a long bow, but if we sell a plant (potted-on from a cutting by a member) to another member and that plant is covered by Plant Breeders Rights, are the "directors" of the Garden Club liable? Have other Garden Clubs to which forum members belong, faced this issue?  Does this situation imply that we have to identify every plant, seed, bulb and satisfy ourselves that they are not covered by Plant Breeders Right before we can sell them to our members?  HELP!!

John

fermi de Sousa

  • Far flung friendly fyzzio
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7214
  • Country: au
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2013, 08:16:23 AM »
Hi John,
I've always understood that a plant covered by PBR is not to be propagated for sale without the correct plant label/tag and therefore the "royalty" paid! You can propagate such plants for your own use but not for on-selling (you're not even supposed to give them away). If someone finds you selling such material you can be prosecuted! At FCHS all plants are checked for this sort of thing - we couldn't sell Geranium 'Rozanne' for that reason.
Plants grown from seed aren't covered as far as I know.
Perhaps a nurseryperson who has experience of these matters might make a comment?
cheers
fermi
Mr Fermi de Sousa, Redesdale,
Victoria, Australia

Maggi Young

  • Forum Dogsbody
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 44011
  • Country: scotland
  • "There's often a clue"
    • International Rock Gardener e-magazine
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2013, 09:53:13 AM »
I think you'll find comments about PBR elsewhere in the Forum - sorry, I no time at the moment to  make the search. If I remember correctly:   it is possible to  propagate and sell what you like- but you CAN NOT call it by the registered, official name, protected by PBR.
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

fermi de Sousa

  • Far flung friendly fyzzio
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7214
  • Country: au
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2013, 11:43:53 AM »
The most ridiculous thing I heard about was friends who imported a plant but later someone else also imported it and got the PBR on it so my friends couldn't legally sell the plant!
cheers
fermi
Mr Fermi de Sousa, Redesdale,
Victoria, Australia

John Kitt

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 128
  • The Spent Gardener
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2013, 10:25:13 PM »
Hi Fermi,
There seems to be a great number of "urban myths" surrounding PBR and my reading of Michael Wickenden's paper  (see Maggie's post above) would indicate that the situation in the UK is similar to that in Australia.  I suspect that people don't read the Act. (In Australia, Plant Breeders Rights Act 1994). Some misconceptions include, seeds are covered by the Act; you can propagate for private use but not for commercial sale; can give away but not swap (barter).
My primary concern is the possibility of prosecution of my garden club if we include donated material on our trade tale for sale to members.  Let me give you an example. At this time of year, a member brings along a number of tomato seedlings for sale on the table.  I have no way of knowing whether these are seedlings of a variety covered by PBR (The PBR data base shows pictures of the tomato, not the plant or the seeds)  As a "director" of the Club, am I "excused" under the Innocent Infringement provisions of the Act?

I'd be interested in knowing more about your procedures in your club to avoid this potential problem.  Maybe you might send me a PM.

Regards
John

Hillview croconut

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 694
  • Country: au
    • Hillview Rare Plants
Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #14 on: November 23, 2013, 09:15:51 PM »
Hi,
I hope I am not going to ruffle too many feathers with what I am about to say but I just HAVE to say it!

As I understand it the European Commission is about to vote on the regulation of the sale and marketing of All ornamental plants currently being held in nurseries, national collections, botanic gardens, etc.

Also as I understand it the EU is about to decide whether to make it illegal to grow, swap or trade All plant seeds.

These decisions are being taken next month and they are being opposed by many organizations, including the Plant Heritage Society, the RHS, and the British Horticultural Trades Association, just to name a few. These decisions will probably see the end of the specialist plant trade, the loss of cultural heritage, plant diversity and organizations like the SRGC.

The only comments I have seen on this matter here, apart from Maggi's, and one other, are from non-EU members ..... Huh!?

Marcus

 


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