EU seed potatoes cultivated in sterile conditions not subject to ban - Russia's phytosanitary oversight service

Russia's Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Oversight Service (Rosselkhoznadzor) has clarified the terms of Russia's ban on the import of seed potatoes from the European Union slated to take force April 1, saying that if they are cultivated in sterile conditions they will not be prohibited.

"Temporary restrictions on the import of seed potatoes from European Union countries do to concern seed product produced in sterile conditions from meristematic cells," a Rosselkhoznadzor statement says.

At a meeting conducted by Rosselkhoznadzor chief Sergei Dankvert attended by the head of the Russian Potato Union, Sergei Lupekhin, was noted "the systemic insufficiency of the scheme used in the European Union to ensure the safety of planting material, particularly seed potato, and the formality of the guarantees provided to importer countries."

Restrictive measures could be imposed because EU countries have not provided Rosselkhoznadzor with information on the phytosanitary condition of regions where potatoes are cultivated. In line with international standards, a supplier country is to provide a buying country with such data, since the import of product is possible only from where it was produced, free of harmful organisms and crop diseases. Rosselkhoznadzor directed such inquiries to the EU in 2010.

One of the biggest suppliers of seed potatoes to Russia is the Netherlands. Russia imported 11,000 tonnes last year, 26,000 tonnes the year before. This product is also supplied by Germany, Finland, Britain, and Poland.

EU countries exported 21,000 tonnes of seed potatoes in all last year.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.