b'Brexit Concerns TAKING THE PULSE AT THIS CRITICAL JUNCTURE.BY: TREENA HEINT he seed sector, along with all other sectors of the EuropeanLooking in the other direction, and specifically at Estonia, economy, will be impacted in many ways by Brexit, shouldKaren Rtsep, manager of the Estonian Seed Association, it proceed as planned. At this uncertain point in time,explains that many UK varieties are suitable for growing here, those in the seed industry have worked hard to determine thesuch as many pulses, and also barley and wheat. But if the price possible impacts of Brexit and made preparations of variousof using them increases considerably due to new taxes and so degreeskeeping in mind that the impacts will depend on theon, we will look elsewhere. terms of a deal, if any, and that a free trade agreement mayVan Laecke says Semzabels members in Belgium have been minimize the impacts significantly.informed that some of their EU varieties will likely no longer be At this point, its much too difficult, and indeed quite point- able to be marketed in the UK and vice versa. He and his team less, for the British Society of Plant Breeders (BSPB) to com- have also asked the Belgium government to put a simple and ment. Every day, notes CEO Penny Maplestone, things justcheap system in place so that UK varieties which were commer-seem to get more uncertain, not less. cialized in the past in Belgium can continue to be available to However, a significant concern, which spans the entireBelgium farmers. At the same time, he says, we have encour-European seed industry, can be pinpointed at this time. It isaged our members to do the opposite for those varieties which the requirement for registration of varieties to be exported toare not presently commercialized in the UK. the UK from the EU, and vice versa. Kristiaan Van Laecke, secretary-general of Semzabel in Belgium, notes that because varieties bred in the EU will have to be approved a second time by the UK before import, UK breeders and farmers will have fewer choices. In cereals, a lot of varieties sown in Belgium are breeding results of breeding in the UK, hePost-Brexit, import and exportexplains. A no-deal scenario might be a big problem in particu- of seed, plant material and produce lar for maize seed and rapeseed, especially maize, as theres no breeding or seed production of that crop in the UK. gets more complicated and this Seed imports are a necessity for many crops grown in themight have consequences for where UK, agrees Nigel Moore, head of business administration for KWS Cereals business unit. He believes that whilst UK govern- companies will produce.ment has promised to unilaterally recognise EU certified seed of UK registered varieties as marketable, movement of seed fromMarian SuelmannUK to EU requiring OECD and OIC certification and labelling will be a significant administrative burden on companies like his and for UK officials. He is also concerned that even this, export only becomes possible if an equivalence agreement can be reached. Per Henriksson, secretary-general of the Swedish Seed Mari Raininko, secretary-general of the Finnish Seed TradeTrade Association, reports that approval of varieties in the Association, adds that costs for some Finnish vegetable seedscommon catalogue has been achieved for the UK and Sweden, for may increase for UK farmers due to export issues, and that thethe majority of crops/varieties that flow in both directions. For number of vegetable varieties available to them may also drop.one crop however, the question mark remains: UK (Scottish) Nils Elmegaard, secretary-general of the Danish Seed Council,bred-potato varieties, he says. In addition, if/when the UK is also reports that a similar reduction in Danish options may befallconsidered a third county, other issues will emerge, not least UK seed producers if access to the UK market becomes morerelated to phyto-regulations and movement of plant material difficult. In addition, there may be problems with seed testingacross the EU border.quality, adds Karol Duczmal, honorary president at the PolishMoore confirms that his company has been making prepa-Seed Association. rations for the prospect of a third-country border with the EU 6IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM'