Progress on the European Seed Treatment Assurance Industry Scheme (ESTA)
Over the past few years, the seed industry has developed a quality assurance system for treated seeds. The Commission Directive 2010/21/EU requires the application of insecticide seed treatments to “be performed in professional seed treatment facilities”. The European Seed Association (ESA) has developed the European Seed Treatment Assurance (ESTA) standard to meet recent regulatory and political challenges in order to reach a new level of commitment. ESTA makes sure certified seed meets regulatory quality requirements ensuring free movement of treated seed within the EU.
ESTA certifies the seed treatment process and the quality of the treated seeds with several benefits for many stakeholders. For example, ESTA certifies that seeds marketed by the certified sites are meeting the agreed quality standards as well as existing legal requirements. Additionally, the quality assurance system addresses the entire seed supply chain from seed cleaning to the use of the treated seed in the field.
ESTA addresses adequate measures for waste handling and disposal and requires the seed companies to provide recommendations for handling and intended use of the treated seed by farmers. The communication package provided under the ESTA scheme is translated into 26 different languages, with icons for easy recognition by all handlers.
Since the beginning of the scheme in 2013, there are already 100 sites certified under the ESTA standard in 15 different countries. ESTA is extended also outside the European Union with treatment sites certified in Ukraine and Turkey harmonizing quality standards across the European continent.
In detail, almost 70% of maize that is treated in the EU is ESTA certified; the percentage is constantly increasing. Almost 90% of oil seed rape that is treated in the EU is ESTA certified and almost 100% of sugar beet that is treated in the EU is ESTA certified. The ESTA certified sites also treat cereals, vegetables, sunflower and protein plants.
As of July 2017, ESTA will be operated by the ESTA agents. The agents have the infrastructure, knowledge and competence in the implementation of the ESTA scheme. As of August 2017, a new agent is operating the scheme in Hungary promoting ESTA in a country of high importance for the seed industry. Following Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Spain, Poland and Italy, Hungary is already the seventh important European seed country establishing a specific national platform for the promotion and management of the European seed treatment quality assurance. The agent will be exclusively operating in the country for the following two years and is expected to play an important role in the successful rollout of ESTA in Hungary.
In addition, the European Seed Association has just published a new set of factsheets to explain the importance of ESTA, the quality scheme to ensure the safe treatment of seed against pest and diseases.
Where on the Web: ESTA fact sheets – https://www.euroseeds.eu/discover-seed-treatment-and-esta-scheme-esta-factsheets-now-available
Editors Note: Amalia Kafka is manager ESTA