b'base, remains to be seen. Similarly, how much seed will remainlast week, the Spanish government did not include specific meas-in the production countries due to transport problems, cannotures with regard to farming and agricultural production. That be predicted. omission gave rise to uncertainties that provoked many contactsCondensed interview with Niels Louwaars, Managingbetween all actors involved in the supply chain, from farmers Director at the Dutch Seed Association Plantum NL, date 24unions, agri-cooperatives to most input associations. Lead by March 2020 ANOVE, and our authorities, that finally lead to a formal request jointly signed by all stakeholders and a subsequent press release (March 16) that was widely published by many specialized and STATUS POLAND non-specialized media and which had wide impact.Finally, last week, our Ministry of Agriculture published At PIN everything is OK, our office is working normally. Somea note and guidelines with regard to the state of emergency, of the colleagues are working in the office, and some at home.explicitly declaring that:What we need now is to cope with a situation where there areAgricultural, livestock and aquaculture production, different measurements by the authorities in Poland. Luckily,as well as fishing activity, the transformation of agricul-we still can go to work frequently. We hope that all of you attural and fishery products, veterinary centres or clinics, European Seed are also healthy and, in some way, can work ontransport and distribution of food, as well as its commer-the future numbers of your magazine. cialization through retail sale to the consumer, form the food I will collect more information about the impact of COVID- supply chain whose activity must be guaranteed in the state 19 on the seed industry in Poland, but besides the problems withof alarm. This implies that the activity of agri-food compa-logistic, we did not receive any signals from our members aboutnies as a whole, including agricultural, livestock, aquacul-any difficulties. ture and fishing activities, must be maintained, but alsoArtur Paszkowski, Polish Seed Associationthat of the companies that, in turn, supply them with the necessary inputs for their operation.The agricultural, livestock, aquaculture or fishing activ-STATUS SWEDEN ity requires the use of inputs for its proper performance, such as the use of fertilizers, phytosanitary products, seeds To start I must point out that Sweden to date is less affected byand plants, veterinary products, feed, salt, ice, accoutre-the virus compared to several other European countries. At thisments, etc.point around 2,000 people have been established as carrier ofWe are regularly monitoring the activities, uncertainties and the disease and around 20 elderly infected people have unfortu- challenges our members are facing nowadays, and the main con-nately passed away. But we are probably only in the beginningclusions are the following:of the curve of the infection.In the coming weeks, for the main crops there is no immedi-The, so far, limited effect of the disease on the generalate threat of disruption or shortage in the seed supply to farmers;public has also meant the seed industry has managed to prepare So far, there are no disruptions in the normal move-and deliver the seed for the upcoming spring drilling more orment of seeds from other EU countries (mostly France and The less according to plan throughout the country. Also import andNetherlands) to Spain, beyond some (understandable) slight logistics of primarily potato tubers for planting from Denmark,delays in logistics; The Netherlands and/or Germany has worked well despite the The situation could change if the exceptional situation we closed borders. The start of the spring crops should thereby beare living in these days would be extended several weeks, and under control. very particularly if there would be import restrictions at borders, The consequences of this pandemic will to a great extentas we depend on seed imports for some key crops, particularly still be felt by the farming community. The global economic tur- vegetables.moil that follows the COVID-19 epidemic has hit the Swedish cur- The main two problems our companies are facing today seem rency hard with a significant worsened exchange rate towardsto be:the euro and dollar. This will lead to significantly higher price The gradual paralysis of many public services in our for needed commodities which will be needed during this yearsadministration, including ISTA and OECD certificates for growing season. Taking into account the severe drought and lowexport, internal seed lot certification and analysis (LLP, etc.). yield of the 2018 season, many farming operations are alreadyOur efforts are aiming to allow more autonomy and self-certifi-financially stretched and will have difficulties to withstand thecation for companies in case official services could not perform expected increased costs for input products. timely inspections and sampling.A further worry particularly affecting vegetable- as well as The restrictions in private mobility, that are producing fruit/berry producers concerns the availability of labour duringserious uncertainties on how many people could travel in private the harvest season. The labour force of these companies nor- cars. This is extremely relevant for our sector, as some crops are mally arrives from Poland, the Baltic counties or Southeast Asia.labour intensive and many workers lack either a driving license With travel restrictions and closed borders in many countries,or their own car, and it has been usual to share private cars for there is a considerable risk that there will not be a sufficientthose displacements. That situation could either oblige some workforce available at harvest. companies to rent buses (if available) or lose as much as 50%Condensed interview with Per Henriksson, Managingof their work force on fields (figures directly from some mem-Director at the Swedish Seed Association SVUF, date 25bers). The impact on the companys costs could be enormousMarch 2020Condensed interview with Antonio Villaroel, Secretary-General of the Spanish Seed Association ANOVE, date 23 March 2020STATUS SPAINIn the decree declaring the state of emergency in the country EUROPEAN-SEED.COMIEUROPEAN SEED I 45'