Last week the seed industry announced good news in the form of the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM), a world wide attempt to put seed regulations on the same page. Ric Dunkle, Senior Director of Seed Health and Trade for the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) was at the International Plant Protection Convention in Korea when the standards were adopted.
We’re trading seed on an international level at an unprecedented rate, Dunkle explains. “As you increase the volumes and amounts, numbers, different kinds of seed moving around the world, you increase the potential for seeds moving around unwanted pests and disease.”
The snag is that currently countries make their own phytosanitary measures as they see the need, creating different regulations and measures for the same seed across the globe. An international company marketing to 50 or 60 nations faces a huge challenge, but the new standard will change that.
“What this standard does is attempts to provide sort of uniform guidance to countries in how to regulate seed movement so these phytosanitary measures can become more harmonized and more predictable,” says Dunkle.
Dunkle expects the process to take a year to 18 months for countries to amend legislation or regulations. Regional organizations will work to provide training and workshops and ASTA will be among those helping to provide guidance on what the new standards will mean, but one thing Dunkle does foresee is improvement in international trade.
“If we can get those [regulations] harmonized from one country to another around the world, then the trade environment becomes much more predictable and certain to our seed industry.”
Hear more about what the new standards will mean here: Interview with Ric Dunkle, ASTA