ESA workshop on ‘’A New Plant Health framework impacting the movement of seed’’



Towards a harmonized implementation and a common understanding of the Plant Health Regulatory framework for seed in Europe.


The movement of seed including treated seed is becoming increasingly important to the seed industry for commercial seeds, as well as for seed production and new variety development.  At the same time, the phytosanitary requirements for seed movement are becoming more challenging.

The governing body of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) adopted a new International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM 38) on 6 April 2017.

The standard provides guidance to assist official National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs) on establishing procedures for phytosanitary import requirements; inspection, sampling and testing of seeds; and on the phytosanitary certification of seeds for export and re-export.

At the European level, a new regulation on protective measures against pests of plants (EU/2016/2031) entered into force 14 December 2016 and its date of application is 14 December 2019. During this timeframe, many secondary acts shall be adopted in order to complement the basic regulation. The aim of the Community Plant Health Regime, aligned with international standards (including ISPMs), is to protect the EU against the harm caused by the entry, establishment and spread of harmful organisms injurious to plants and plant products.

On April 10, more than 50 representatives of ESA members, especially plant health experts from national associations and companies, gathered in Brussels to discuss the impact on the implementation of the Plant Health Regulatory framework for seed. The workshop provided the attendees with understanding of the contents and the linkages between the ISPM on Seed, the EU Plant Health Regulation and national regulatory frameworks.

In addition to Mr. Garlich von Essen, ESA Secretary General, Mr. Emmanuel Lesprit, ESA Chair of working group plant health who warmly welcomed all the participants and Mr. Christophe RouillardTechnical Manager Plant Health and Seed Trade, representing ESA Secretariat, we had a great pleasure to have the following speakers on stage: Mr. Harry Arijs, Deputy Head of Unit, DG Health and Food Safety, Unit G1 – Plant Health, European Commission; Mrs. Anne-Laure Fondeur, Head of Service Officiel de contrôle et de certification (SOC), French authority in charge of performing official plant health controls on seed; Mr. Gerard Meijerink, Seed Consultant, currently involved as a consultant on phytosanitary matters for ISF and Mr. Dennis Johnson, Seed Health Manager representing ISF Secretariat.

All the speakers delivered very insightful, engaging and well-aimed presentations that resulted in three very stimulating Q&A sessions during which all the participants had an opportunity to address the questions they had in mind as well as those triggered during the presentations.


We are very pleased to see the involvement of ESA membership and we do hope this “train the trainer” effort will be followed up by national outreach efforts.


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