The COVID-19 global outbreak is showing the world how adopting preventive measures is essential to secure countries from the introduction and spread of devastating human diseases. These preventative measures can also be used to secure countries from the introduction and spread of devastating plant diseases. These preventative measures are a cornerstone of DAFM’s Plant Health and Biosecurity Strategy.
DAFM regularly conducts inspections and surveys of garden centres, nurseries, parks, roadways and private gardens to monitor and maintain Ireland’s plant health and prevent outbreaks of plant pests. DAFM also inspects plants and plant products being imported from outside of the EU.
All plants for planting, moving within the EU, are now required to carry a Plant Passport. This allows for traceability of all plants and allows for timely response in the event of an outbreak. Under the new Plant Health Regulation (EU) (2016/2031) garden centres, nurseries, landscapers and internet sellers are required to register with DAFM. This registration is required as it allows for the traceability of all plants within the EU and Ireland. Registration is free of charge and the registration forms can be accessed from the Dept. of Agriculture website: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmingsectors/planthealthtrade/registeringasaprofessionaloperator Registration of Professional Operators and the introduction of a harmonised Plant Passport system across the EU will lead to a more robust system of traceable plants and plant products in not only Ireland but all over the EU.
Plant and plant products which are from an area where a protected zone exists, have a further protection in that the Plant Passport is required to the end-user. A protected zone is an area of the EU which is free from a quarantine organism despite favourable conditions for them to establish themselves. The affect of such organisms are also measured in terms of economic, social and environmental impact should the organism become established Ireland has 22 of these protected zones which play a major role in protecting our high plant health status.
The information on the Plant Passport is set out under four letters A,B,C,D
- A: Plant Botanical name
- B: Plant Health Registration number of supplier
- C: Traceability code of product
- D: Origin country of the plant
- The Plant Passport is standardised throughout the
EU, where these letters indicate the same information throughout the EU. As we enter the final phase of lockdown, we hope the industry can build on the work and commitment of a challenging spring and above all for our families and loved ones to be safe in the new normal. ✽