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ESPG argues for collective acceptance of seed potato tests

April 2024

Just imagine that you are a Belgian seed potato grower and you export a batch of potatoes to another EU country. Upon sampling in that other country, the possible pres­ence of ring rot is reported. It is then mid February. All doors, including those at home, on the farm, are then locked. You are visited by your own inspection service. Within a few days, their conclusion arrives: nothing was round. Toen there are more tests by your inspection ser­vices in the export country, after which the results of these tests are compared with the export country’ s own tests. Here again, nothing was found. You must then wait tor the official clean bill of health, which arrives two months later. It is then the end of April. The result is that you still have all your seed in the storeroom and the market is closed. Your seed is now worth nothing. Who is going to pay tor that? This is a true story, says Upt Hiddema, the new Chairman of the ESPG and his expression suggests this could also happen to you. As an independent seed potato grower in the Frisian village of Holwerd, Hiddema knows what he is talking about. As a representative of the Dutch seed potato growers at LTO (Dutch Federation of Agricultural and Horticultural Organisations), the PCC (Seed Potato Contact Committee) and the ESPG, he can very well imagine how a grower then feels. ‘It is our task to prevent this type of terrible situation from happening’, says the leader militantly.

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