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Food and Feed Safety (05-10-2009)

Member States support proposal to help preserve biodiversity

Member States endorsed recently a Commission proposal that will help preserve biodiversity in the Standing Committee on Seeds and Propagating material for Agriculture, Horticulture and Forestry. The proposal allows authorisation for marketing of varieties of vegetables that may be threatened by extinction under less strict conditions. 
The new rules should enable small plant breeding companies to supply local markets with naturally adapted varieties. These varieties are mostly old, locally used, varieties threatened by extinction. In addition, varieties which are no longer of interest for commercial crop production but are developed for growing under particular climatic or agro-technical conditions, such as manual care or repeated harvesting, can now be marketed for the use of non-professionals under less strict requirements.
The proposal foresees derogations from the EU seed marketing legislation for such varieties which currently cannot be marketed because they do not fulfil certain criteria for registration of varieties. In order to ensure that these varieties are only used for the envisaged objective, quantitative restrictions will apply to the production and marketing of these varieties.
Last year the Commission adopted rules on agricultural crops and before the end of this year it will propose similar rules for other crops, like seed of grass mixtures.