EU and international affairs

EU and international affairs

The Federal Plant Variety Office (BSA) represents German interests regarding variety and seed matters in various international committees such as the European Union (EU), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and thus contributes to developing and harmonising legal provisions in the field of plant varieties and seeds.

Since 1972 the Council of the European Union compiles the Common catalogues of varieties of vegetable species and agricultural plant species from the national lists of the member states. Once a variety is included in the catalogue, its seed can be marketed throughout the EU. The Common catalogue for vegetable species comprises more than 21,000 varieties, the one for agricultural species more than 23,000 varieties. The BSA provides the relevant information from Germany for the catalogues.

The European Seed Certification Agencies Association (ESCAA) unites the seed certification agencies of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. ESCAA provides a platform for the general knowledge transfer and exchange of experiences about the different national certification schemes and strives for a harmonized implementation of the EU seed legislation. It also collects statistical data about the seed propagation areas and amounts of certified seeds within the EU. The BSA represents Germany in the matter of seed certification.

Just as important for the international seed trade are the agreed methods of seed propagation and certification on the basis of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Seed Schemes. In the OECD Seed Schemes, the BSA contributes to enhancing existing seed certification schemes for various plant species.

For seed potatoes, the Standard developed by the seed potato expert group of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) serves as an international reference point for seed potato certification. The BSA contributes to the further development of the UNECE Standard.

In addition, the BSA supports non-member countries in establishing and developing plant variety and seed schemes within the context of BMEL cooperation projects. In recent years the BSA is specifically active in India, Mongolia and Ethiopia. You can access further information on the international projects here.