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The cultivation of fruit plants plays an important part in the agricultural activity of the Community. The production of healthy, high-quality fruit depends to a large extent on the standard of the material used for fruit plant cultivation.

Council Directive 2008/90/EEC of 29 September 2008 (recast version of Directive 92/34/EEC) on the marketing of fruit plant propagating material and fruit plants intended for fruit production established a harmonised Community regime which ensures that purchasers throughout the Community receive propagating material and fruit plants which are healthy and of good quality. This stipulates that fruit plant propagating material and fruit plants of genera and species listed in Annex I, which are deemed to be of major economic importance, may only be marketed if they are either CAC (Conformitas Agraria Communitatis), pre-basic, basic or certified material.

To be classified as such, material must comply with the criteria for quality, plant health, testing methods and procedures, propagation systems and varietal aspects laid down in technical schedules and must have been recognised as satisfying these conditions following official inspection.

These schedules are laid down in Commission Directive 93/48/EEC of 23 June 1993 setting out the schedules indicating the conditions to be met by fruit plant propagating material and fruit plants intended for fruit production, pursuant to Council Directive 92/34/EEC. In addition, propagating material or fruit plants may, in most circumstances, only be marketed by accredited suppliers, whose production methods and establishments meet the requirements of the Directive. Community rules concerning the separation of lots and marking, the identification of varieties and labelling are also laid down to ensure the identity and correct marketing of material.

It is stipulated that in the first instance, it is the responsibility of the suppliers of propagating and/or fruit plants to ensure that their products adhere to the conditions laid down in the Directive.

Propagating material and fruit plants from countries outside of the European Community may only be marketed within the Community if they offer the same guarantees as material produced in the Community complying with Council Directive 92/34/EEC.

Where appropriate, the Commission is assisted by Member States in adopting measures related to Council Directive 92/34/EEC through the Standing Committee on Propagating Material and Plants of Fruit Genera and Species.

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