Northern Ireland Seed Potato Classification Scheme
Plant Health & Crop Certification Inspectors within the Plant Health Inspection Branch- implement the Northern Ireland Seed Potato Classification Scheme through the delivery of field and tuber inspection and certification services to Northern Ireland growers. Inspectors ensure that all crops comply with the relevant regulations.
Following at least two field inspections, seed potato crops that meet the rigorous standards required are awarded a plant health certificate appropriate to their specific class. Plant Health and Crop Certification Inspectors also examine consignments of seed potatoes for export and home plantings before they leave the growers premises to ensure that the seed meets the standard for tuber diseases, purity and other defects. Northern Ireland exports seed to many different countries aided by our freedom from many serious pests and diseases of potatoes common elsewhere in Europe.
Seed potato plantings
Seed potato plantings gives details of the area of seed potatoes in Northern Ireland by variety, area and grade planted. These figures have been derived from applications for certification received by DAERA from growers seeking to have crops certified as Pre-Basic and Basic seed potatoes.
The Northern Ireland Register of pre-basic and basic seed potato crops
The Northern Ireland register of pre-basic and basic seed potato crops gives details of all seed potato crops classified in Northern Ireland. Crops are listed by variety and grade with contact details for potential buyers.
Seed Potato Label Online Customer User Guide
The Department's Plant Health Inspection Branch prints seed potato labels (also known as plant passports) for the local industry. Growers, applicants and merchants in Northern Ireland who wish to order labels can do so through DAERA Online Services. Below is a link to the user guide:
Seed Potato Marketing Arrangements
The Seed Potato Marketing arrangements outline the conditions which must be met when marketing seed potatoes produced in Northern Ireland. The document covers requirements relating to bags, seed potato labels and phytosanitary certificates.
Moving Seed Potatoes and Notification Requirements Post EU Exit
The implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol has meant that there have been important changes to the movement of seed potatoes.
Moving Seed Potatoes from Great Britain into Northern Ireland
Regulated goods moving from Great Britain (GB) to Northern Ireland (NI) are subject to European Union (EU) Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and marketing rules which currently apply to third countries. Consequently, the movement of seed potatoes from GB to NI is prohibited.
The UK government is working with the EU to permit the marketing of GB seed to the EU and Northern Ireland.
Buying “small ware” or uncertified seed for planting is not just against the Regulations but it also carries the risk of spreading Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) from untested fields and increased virus and other disease burdens in crops. Home-saving your own seed for more than one year is also against the Regulations and can result in heavy virus infections in ware crops and increased virus in neighbouring seed crops.
Moving Seed Potatoes from the EU into Northern Ireland
The requirements for the movement of seed potatoes from EU to NI remains unchanged and the same conditions apply as before.
The purchase of seed potatoes from mainland Europe can present greater plant health risks than local or GB seed. Growers are reminded of the requirement to notify DAERA prior to moving any seed into Northern Ireland. This will permit stocks to be tested with the results known well in advance of planting. Growers are reminded that EU grades A and B (Blue label grades) are prohibited in Northern Ireland. The seed should also satisfy the Protected Zone requirements for Northern Ireland (Colorado Beetle and Beet Necrotic Yellow Vein Virus) and this will be evidenced with the abbreviations LPTNDE and BNYVV being printed on the seed potato label.
Businesses moving seed potatoes into Northern Ireland from the EU are required to notify the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs at least 48 hours in advance using the form below. This measure was introduced to protect the local industry from serious potato diseases that could be introduced via imported seed.
- Seed Potato Import Notification Form [direct to Seed Potato Import Notification Form | Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (daera-ni.gov.uk)]
Moving Seed Potatoes from Northern Ireland to Great Britain and the EU
The requirements for moving seed potatoes from NI to GB and from NI to the EU currently remains unaffected and the same conditions apply as before.
Confirmation on Movements from NI to GB can be found on DEFRA’s EU exit webpage Movements from Northern Ireland to GB.
Growers and businesses are advised to keep up-to-date with EU Exit developments by visiting DAERA’s ‘Import and export of plants and trees’ webpage.
Phytosanitary certificates for export
DEARA Plant Health Inspection Branch have launched an online applicationplatfrom for requesting phytosanitary certificates called PECOL (Phytosanitary Export Certificate Online). PECOL can be accessed using the following link
The Seed Potato Sector
Northern Ireland is recognised as a high-grade seed potato area within the EU. The climate and topography makes it an ideal place to grow healthy seed potatoes with low virus levels and with freedom from many pests and diseases such as colorado beetle, brown rot and ring rot.
Retail Sales of Seed Potatoes
Seed potatoes sold in shops and garden centres in Northern Ireland should fulfil the same conditions as seed potatoes sold to commercial growers. “Retail sales of seed potatoes” gives a brief guide to what is required for sales to the public.
Application to certify seed potato crops
Businesses wishing to have seed potatoes certified in Northern Ireland can apply by using the application form, which should be filled in, printed off and sent, along with supporting documents and fees due, to Plant Health Inspection Branch.