Two growers from Mexico, representing the Mexican potato industry, called for the designation of pest-free production areas for potatoes and a limit on exports and imports from those areas.
Meeting in Vancouver, BC, Can., in late October, for the annual North American Plant Protection Organization meeting, the request was made to seven members from the United States and two from Canada.
The proposal to establish guidelines for the pest-free areas drew a round of questions from other members. They asked what pests would be considered, what the size of a pest-free area should be, how would pest-free areas be maintained, and would it inhibit trade rather than enhance it.
The official recommendation to the Potato Panel was to determine the terms of reference for the pest-free areas from where potatoes would be exported.
Also on the panel's list of assignments for this year are completing the nematode identification Appendix to the NAPPO Potato Standard; determine ways to publish the nematode Appendix; continue work with the bacterial ring rot technical advisory group to develop a BRR Appendix to the NAPPO Potato Standards; continue to review the PVYn Appendix; and collaborate with the European Plant Protection Organization to consider options of unifying NAPPO and EPPO seed potato standards.
These topics will be among those discussed at the group's next meeting set for June 2005 in Colorado.