The European Commission (EC) has proposed a Regulation aimed at simplifying and updating the existing body of EU legislation on the production and marketing of plant reproductive material (PRM), including seeds. It forms part of a wider legislative package on controls of plant and animal health.
At present, in order to be sold in the EU, PRM is subject to a regulatory framework which requires the testing and registration of plant varieties before they can be marketed and the certification, for quality assurance purposes, of individual lots of seeds or other forms of PRM.
While proposing to retain many aspects of the current control regimes, the EC hopes to provide operators in the industry with a wider choice of options for producing and marketing different types of PRM.
Lighter or more flexible rules are foreseen for traditional plant varieties which can play an important role in ensuring biodiversity and environmental sustainability. However, some stakeholder bodies active in these sectors have questioned whether these provisions will sufficiently meet the needs of small-scale breeders and farmers.