Marketing of agricultural seed
What legislation will be the basis of marketing agricultural seed in Northern Ireland after the transition period?
Northern Ireland will continue to comply with EU legislation under the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Can seed produced and certified in Northern Ireland be marketed in Great Britain after 31 December 2020?
Due to the principal of unfettered market access for NI goods to GB, seed produced and certified in Northern Ireland can be marketed in Great Britain after 31 December 2020.
Can seed produced and certified in Great Britain be marketed in Northern Ireland after 31 December 2020?
Seed produced and certified in Great Britain after 31 December 2020 will only be marketable in Northern Ireland when the EU grants the UK (GB) third country equivalence.
In early January, the EU published a draft Council Decision to grant equivalence for seed of cereal, fodder, beet and oil and fibre, which looks likely to be adopted and come into force in early 2021. This decision will apply retrospectively from 1 January 2021. Given the retrospective nature of the Decision, DAERA has therefore decided that GB seed referenced in the Decision can be marketed with immediate effect in Northern Ireland, under the rules of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as long as it is accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate.
The EU has not included certified vegetable seed in the draft Decision, which means that certified vegetable seed from GB will not be able to be marketed in Northern Ireland. DAERA and the UK Government are engaging with the EU to establish the reason for the omission and to push for certified vegetable seed to be included in any equivalence decision.
Standard vegetable seed can continue to be supplied into Northern Ireland from GB, as long as it is accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate.
If there are any developments on certified vegetable seed further guidance will be issued.
Can seed produced and certified in Northern Ireland be marketed in the EU after 31 December 2020?
Seed which is produced and certified in Northern Ireland will be marketable in the EU after 31 December 2020 under the same terms as before.
Can seed produced and certified in the EU be marketed in Northern Ireland after 31 December?
Seed which is produced and certified in the EU will be marketable in Northern Ireland after 31 December 2020 under the same terms as before.
What about seed already on the market at the end of the transition period?
Seed being marketed between Northern Ireland and Great Britain which is lawfully on the market before the end of the transition period can continue to be marketed until it has reached its end user. It is the supplier’s responsibility to have documentary evidence that material was on the market, which at the minimum means an offer for sale. It must also have been in a finished, marketable state, which for seed with specific labelling requirements we understand to mean first sealing date no later than 31 December 2020.
Can seed move freely from the EU to Northern Ireland and on to the GB market?
EU material lawfully on the market on or before 31 December 2020 can move freely from the EU to NI and onward to GB until it reaches the final consumer. Under the provisions for unfettered market access for Northern Ireland Qualifying Goods, material certified and labelled under the EU’s rules for its single market can move onwards into GB.
There are concerns about backdoor access to the GB market for material from the EU via Northern Ireland, including varieties not on the GB or Northern Ireland Variety Lists. The proposals for Northern Ireland Qualifying Goods are for simple rules for six months, to be replaced by more detailed requirements. Further information will be issued in due course.
Plant Variety Rights
How will Plant Variety Rights be administered after the transition period?
While there has already been a longstanding process for UK Plant Variety Rights, this has been largely superseded by EU Plant Variety Rights which are managed by the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO). After the transition period, Plant Variety Rights will be issued in the UK, on a UK wide basis.
Applicants will follow the procedure currently in place by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in order to obtain UK Plant Variety Rights. Decisions for PVR in the UK are the responsibility of the UK Controller of Plant Breeder’s Rights. For protection in the EU, breeders will need to apply separately to the CPVO.
How will existing EU rights work after 31 December 2020?
In the UK, varieties with EU rights granted by the end of the transition period will be given protection, without rights holders being required to do anything. The remaining duration of the right in the UK will be calculated from the date the EU right was granted. All the relevant information held on the CPVO database will be copied into the UK’s database.
How does variety listing work in Northern Ireland now?
For the main agricultural and vegetable crops, and amenity grasses, a variety must be registered on the National List of an EU Member State before seed can be marketed. Once on a National List, a variety is added to the EU Common Catalogue making it marketable across the EU. National Listing requires two types of testing: Distinctness, Uniformity and Stability (DUS) for all crops and Value for Cultivation and Use (VCU, performance testing) for agricultural crops.
How will variety listing work in Northern Ireland after 31 December 2020?
Due to the terms of the NI Protocol, the UK National List will be sub divided into two separate lists, the Great Britain Variety List (covering England, Scotland and Wales) and the Northern Ireland Variety List. Initially, these lists will be made up of all the varieties on the EU Common Catalogue from the end of the transition period.
Going forward, applications for the NI Variety List will be combined with applications for the GB Variety list with decisions for Great Britain made by Defra, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government and for Northern Ireland by DAERA. The aim is to keep these lists aligned.
What list must a variety be on to be marketed in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK after the transition period?
For a variety to be marketed in Northern Ireland it must be on the Northern Ireland Variety List and to be marketed in Great Britain it must be on the GB Variety List. Due to the terms of the NI Protocol, varieties on the EU Common Catalogue may also be marketed in Northern Ireland but not Great Britain.