Use of true potato seed gets EU boost

The Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (Seeds and Propagation section) of the European Commission has approved a so-called ‘temporary experiment’ with derogatory rules on the marketing of True Potato Seed.

Potatoes are currently exclusively propagated by tubers, however, innovative technologies now allow propagation by seeds and this has a number of significant benefits, including speeding up the multiplication of varieties which are currently reliant on tuber production.

The new technology for the production of true seed relies on the crossing of uniform, inbred lines, allowing quicker introduction of one, or even several beneficial new traits as F1 hybrids, and the use of True Potato Seed for faster propagation; one potato plant can easily produce 1000 seeds.

The total value of seed potatoes produced in the EU is estimated at €1 billion per year. New technologies will potentially have a large impact on trade; a small bag of 30 grams of True Potato Seed corresponds to 2,500 kilograms of seed tubers, which are also prone to losing quality during long transport. Current legislation in the EU does not regulate the marketing of true seed of Solanum tuberosum. The temporary experiment, which will last seven years, will help in establishing the requirements for this material so that both producers and users can maximally benefit from this innovative technology.

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