b"U.S. seed companies have put into place the necessarybut is prioritising samples as they too have to implement new practices to comply with COVID-19 recommendations frompractices in their laboratory. Seed certification regulations will the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and othercontinue to be upheld with a few adjustments to practicesthis agencies as they continue to deliver seed during this challeng- is all under the control of the Irish Department of Agriculture, ing time. We appreciate the tireless efforts of Americas pro- but we are in good hands as they celebrated their 120th birthday ducers who are on the front lines each and every day, and theon 1 April and have plenty of experience dealing with crisis such strong support and communication from Secretary Perdue and(WWI and WWII, Foot & Mouth, BSE, etc.). his team to ensure Americas families have ready access to a Condensed interview with Tim ODonovan, Technical variety of nutritious foods, now and in the future. If farmers,Director, Seedtech, date 2 April 2020ranchers or others have any questions about their seed needs for the 2020 season, we encourage them to contact their seed company directly. STATUS DENMARKIn Denmark we are OK, despite the present situation. Springtime STATUS SWITZERLAND is busythis year is no exception. Concerning the seed move-ments and trade, we have not, at this point, seen any major We would like to inform you that all of us are doing fine andobstacles. The movement of seeds is generally functioning more nobody has been infected with COVID-19 at work nor privatelyor less as usual. We are in close contacts with the authorities yet. The Swiss government imposed very strong policies. Alland we keep each other posted on any developments. So at the schools and universities, restaurants, some shops and leisuremoment we are not facing major obstacles, and farmers in all parks are closed. Life is very restricted but right now we do notEurope are busy sowing. For grass seed the big unknown is have a complete lockdown. These rules are fixed until April 19th.how the private consumers react (and which possibilities they After that date the government will again decide how to go on. have) in this situation. Im sure that we will see some further Our government in Switzerland has attached great impor- developmentswe just dont know which ones.tance to the agricultural production. This means that we in crop Nils Elmegaard, Chief Policy Advisor of the Danish production (seeds, fertilizer, crop protection) have a system rel- Seed Associationevance and can therefore continue to work in case the level of danger is further increased. Condensed interview with Jrg Jost, Secretary GeneralSTATUS ITALYof the Switzerland Seed Association, date 2 April 2020 The news that you hear every day is not exaggerated! The real-ity is that we are living in a very worrying situation, which is STATUS PORTUGAL certainly dramatic in some areas of our country. In Assosementi we have applied to the letter, the provisions We, too, are experiencing some difficulties with seed supply fromof our government: after a few days of alternate work to guaran-other Member States. The main problem concerns logistics, as ittee the minimum distance between us, all colleagues are now is becoming difficult to get transport to bring seed from coun- working at home. I am the only one that is going to the office, tries like France or Italy. absolutely isolated, to guarantee a minimum presence.It's becoming more difficult to find transportation compa- In the seed sector, the Italian seed companies promptly nies to do these itineraries, don't forget that all the land trans- adopted the provisions of the Italian government: they reduced portation coming from Europe or outside, must cross Spain totheir activity to essential operations that cannot be postponed, come to Portugal. And these companies are facing problemslimiting the presence of workers in the factory to the bare min-with lack of people to work, difficult conditions when crossingimum. Work shifts have been adopted in order to minimize the countries like Spain or France (we have some comments sayingpossibility of contact between workers and where it has not that in some areas, the truckers are not allowed to stop for restbeen possible to guarantee the minimum distance of one meter or eating). from each other, all the necessary PPE have been provided. In Fortunately, in some crops we see some anticipated cam- this way the activity in the factory has never stopped and the paign, and many farmers have already the seeds at home or evendeliveries of seeds to the farms have been guaranteed. This at the field. For other crops, the problem will start if we extendwas very important to ensure the spring sowing (maize, var-this situation for a long time. We also have some members thatious vegetables, etc.) and to guarantee the production for the had made a seed stock before this month. So, there is a lot of2020 campaign.different realities according to seed business type. Since the beginning of this pandemic the objectives of ourCondensed interview with Silvia Benquerena,government have been twofold: to guarantee the health of the interim Secretariat of the Portuguese Seed Associationpopulation and to ensure the stability of the national economy. ANSEME, date 1 April 2020 Therefore, the Italian government intervened by limiting to a minimum the movement of people (with very few exceptions, such as proven working needs, health reasons and other needs STATUS IRELAND such as food purchases), first in the outbreak areas of Northern Italy then, from 9 March, in the whole national territory.The majority of arable seed had been processed and was beingThe work activities were able to continue only if necessary delivered to farms before the Irish government lock-down wasand only if these were considered essential and not deferrable. announced on 27 March. Agriculture and its support industries hasIt could continue provided that specific measures were taken been classed as one of the essential services, so seed wholesalersto protect the health of workers (PPE, reduction of active staff, and retailers can continue to process and deliver seed to farmers. minimum distance of 1 meter between people, strong stimulus The official seed testing station continues to process resultsto smart working, etc.). Agricultural and zootechnical activities EUROPEAN-SEED.COMIEUROPEAN SEED I 43"