§ Mr. George Grant
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what are the objectives of the new scheme to be introduced on the certification of seed potatoes; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Strang:
I assume my hon. Friend is referring to the Seed Potatoes Regulations 1978. Their main effect is to bring marketing of seed potatoes in this country within the scope of the EEC seeds regime. The broad objectives of that regime are to facilitate trade throughout the Community in certified supplies of approved varieties; and to prevent marketing of unsatisfactory material. The regime already applies to the generality of our seed trade; and earlier this year it was extended to home trade in seed potatoes. We await completion of current negotiations before applying it to seed potato imports where we must have 739W adequate plant health safeguards both generally and in particular to protect our high grade production regions.