On August 19, changes to the seed potato Safe Haven Certification Scheme went out to consultation.
Rob Clayton of AHDB said: “Currently 60 per cent of the UK seed industry is part of the Safe Haven Certification Scheme. The changes we are putting forward will be of benefit to growers as the Safe Haven Certification Scheme has been extended to include brown rot and epitrix species (potato flea beetle) as well as the current ring rot and dickeya species.
The voluntary Safe Haven Scheme is designed to reduce the risk of outbreaks of bacterial diseases through a series of robust protocols that ensure best practice for seed growing and handling. Businesses who are members are audited annually.
Dr Clayton said: “The current scheme has 18 standards and we have had a fresh look at hygiene: disinfectant ranges, machinery hygiene and people hygiene; storage, as an advisory to the protocol.
“We have also provided some guidance and instruction in terms of how and when water might be used within the seed sector and have dialled up some of the traceability.
“If we enter a new trading environment we have to play harder with our plant health credentials. We need to go out there with a brand that helps us tell the story of the high health status in the GB seed potato sector. This will be a key message we will take overseas when we are starting to develop these trading relationships.”