Euroseeds Secretary General, Garlich von Essen, presented the plant breeding and seed production sector’s perspective at a European Parliament hearing on the Commission’s new Regulation on Plant Reproductive Material (PRM). Von Essen expressed overall positivity, highlighting the proposal’s logic, stringency, and flexibility to cater the interests of various providers and users of classical PRM, while accommodating specific materials, markets or users that require derogations. One of the new key element is about bringing plant reproductive material under EU Regulation for official controls, ensuring standardized quality guarantees. The proposal acknowledges sector diversity, providing adaptations for specific materials, market segments, and users.
Von Essen highlighted the seed sector’s support for the legislation covering all PRM:
“Regardless of whether farmers deal with commodity production or niche markets, and irrespective of whether they use heterogeneous material, old landraces or classical varieties, they all expect and deserve appropriate information, quality guarantees and protection from pests and diseases in their seed,” von Essen emphasized. “Seed is a crucial input for sustainable farming; it demands precision and adherence to the highest standards.”
The introduced “Value for Sustainable Cultivation and Use (VSCU)” testing requirement raised concerns about its implementation, especially for species without testing systems and defined protocols such as e.g. in the vegetable sector. Moreover, von Essen stressed the need for collaboration between authorities and the sector for efficient implementation and suggested accrediting companies under official supervision, and also pointed out areas in the proposal needing clarification, emphasizing the need for differentiation to achieve the goal of providing the best possible seed for European farmers and growers.
“This is a highly technical legislation that needs to take due account of the biological differences between species, of different marketing paths and uses etc. We understand the Commission’s motivation and approach to streamline and harmonise provisions as much as possible; but there is a justification for a certain level of differentiation and specificity as a means to achieve the overarching goal: assure the best possible seed for all European farmers and growers”, von Essen summed up the view of the European seed sector on the Commission’s proposal.