Velvetleaf & pelleted seed import restrictions

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Key industry pelleted seed import restrictions eased and/or deferred

Posted 24 April 2016

Earlier this month we emailed to inform industry that following the latest velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti) incursion MPI instigated emergency measures relating to the importation of pelleted seed.  The emergency measures require testing of all pelleted seed batches, at the importers cost and adding to significant delays in the importation process and causing considerable concern among a number of nursery businesses.

We, and others, have worked with MPI to help them better understand the vegetable and ornamental seed import pathway resulting in an early reassessment.   MPI have now categorised the risk of weed seeds in imported seed consignments into three groups based on the likelihood of introduction and the ability for surveillance of planted seeds to prevent weed establishment in New Zealand.

The majority of flower and some vegetable crops have been included in the lowest risk group (Risk Group 3) and these will not be subject to restriction or testing at present. The sampling and analysis will be deferred until further assessment by MPI is done.

Other vegetable seeds are included in (Risk Group 2), and these species will be inspected and audit-tested (at the ratio of 1:10) for unwanted organisms and /or regulated (quarantine) weed seeds, at the expense of the importer. Data collected from these audit tests will be used as a source of data for a further MPI review of this pathway.

This is an important outcome for industry and our advocacy following MPI’s reaction to the discovery of velvetleaf in fodder beet crops, identified as having come from contaminated seed.

A huge thanks to those of you who supplied data on their seed imports.  It helped identify which seed species fell into which risk group, and facilitated MPI's ability to respond to our representation. We will need to continue building our vegetable and ornamental pelleted seed pathway data and be ready to engage with MPI when they reconsider the appropriate measures for seeds in risk groups 2 and 3, so we'll be in touch again. 

More information:

 

Email to Nursery & Garden Industry - 12 April 2016

Do you import seed? ... if so we need to hear from you urgently please

Late in March MPI instigated emergency measures relating to the importation of pelleted seed. This follows the discovery of the serious weed, Velvetleaf in fodder beet crops, arising from contaminated seed.

The emergency measures require testing of all pelleted seed batches, at the importers cost and adding to significant delays in the importation process. The changes impact all pelleted seed imports, vegetable and ornamentals included. This has caused considerable concern among a number of nursery businesses.

Last week we worked with MPI to help them better understand the vegetable and ornamental seed import pathway and to seek an early reassessment of this pathway based upon species, origin and biosecurity assurance through seed harvesting and processing.

It's our contention that the vegetable and ornamental pelleted seed pathways and processes incorporate strong biosecurity assurance. Additionally, volumes and frequency of imports will result in a huge workload at seed testing and result in intolerable delays. A rapid reassessment of "our" pathways and the new rules is important.

To assist in this process NGINZ urgently seeks data please to quantify imports, to provide pathway biosecurity assurance processes and the direct implications of the new border measures for pellet seeds. We need information such as:

  • Species (botanical names)
  • number of lines
  • volumes
  • frequency
  • the port of entry for the seed (eg Auckland, Christchurch ...)
  • place of production (country of origin)
  • production systems from the last two years (including pelleting processes).

We'll collate and aggregate this data and pass on to MPI so they can generate a picture of the pelleted pathways and develop tools to segment the importation and testing based on risk and leading to appropriate pathway measures. If you import seed, your data can help us advocate for a rapid reassessment of the risks.

Please send your data (in confidence) to John Liddle, john@nginz.co.nz, and call me if you have questions or feedback, 04 918 3511

24-Apr-2016