Canada Clears First Hurdle For Seed Shipments
Canada's seed potato industry has cleared the first phase of a pre-clearance program that will allow Canadian seed potatoes to be exported into Mexico.
Canadian officials negotiated a seed workplan in July that will allow full Canadian access to the Mexican seed potato market for the 2004-05 marketing season.
This includes seed from New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, which have been banned from Mexico since December 2000 due to concerns with a potato virus known as PVYn.
The work plan includes stringent pre-clearance activities that will be jointly delivered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Mexican inspectors.
These activities include field inspection of every seed field destined for Mexcio; verification of tuber sampling quality assurance procedures; testing of representative samples in Mexico prior to the certification of commerical shipments; and audit procedures at the point of shipping.
Three inspectors from Mexico went to Canada to conduct field inspections. One looked at fields in PEI, New Brunswick and Quebec. The other two worked in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
The pre-clearance program is expected to prevent interceptions of pests considered to be of quarrantine significance by Mexico, and contribute to the stability of trade for exporters accessing the Mexican seed potato market.
The cost of the pre-clearance measures will be borne by Canadian seed growers who ship to Mexico. The CFIA held broadly based consultations with Canadian growers and exporters and provincial governments to ensure that there was widespread industry acceptance of the workplan.