Key findings from EC temporary experiment for derogations on the marketing of cereal populations

April 12, 2022

Cereals and Pulses


Food quality and health

The European Commission has recently released the final report about the temporary experiment providing for certain derogations for the marketing of cereals populations (also known as heterogeneous material). The derogations are related to some EU cereal varieties, with special regard to the plant species of wheat, barley, oats and maize.

Eight Member States participated in the temporary experiment which allowed the marketing of seed of authorised populations from 2014 to 2021, for a total authorization of 46 populations – mainly wheat (84%), 26 seed production and 22 marketing of populations.

Among its key findings, the report highlights that:

  • Verifying the identity of the population is not possible in the context of regular field inspection and post control, as the statistical and application of molecular markers methods used are too costly and time consuming and the intended adaption of populations results consequently in the loss of their initial identity;
  • Field inspection can only focus on health status, general crop appearance, contamination with other species and, if necessary, minimum distance to other crops;
  • Ensuring the identity of the seed of populations implies the fact that traceability requirements must be specified and a control system must be in place;
  • Highlighting differences of populations in regard to yield, quality, and disease and pest resistance only, is crucial as these are the aspects in which populations differ in the comparative field trials;
  • Based on the example of wheat, it can be concluded that the concept of populations works best whether simultaneously networks and supply chains were developed.

Moreover, the report also highlights two other important topics:

  • It cannot be confirmed the fact that populations are generally more efficient in compensating challenging environmental conditions
  • Inspections and phytosanitary measurements for assessing populations are of great importance for such material (special attention should be paid to organic heterogeneous material)

Euroseeds welcomes the main findings and conclusions of the long-awaited final report and wants to stress the need to take these findings into account in the upcoming revision of the Plant Reproductive Material legislation.