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Amended certification requirements for ‘Potatoes for Propagation’
Amended certification requirements for ‘Potatoes for Propagation’

Amended certification requirements for ‘Potatoes for Propagation’ entering the NSWSeed Potato Protected Areas for PSTVd

In response to detections of potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd) in Queensland and Western Australia the NSW Department of Primary Industries will be imposing import restrictions on potatoes for propagation entering the Seed Potato Protected Areas*  of NSW effective 1 March 2016.

Current situation

PSTVd has never been detected in Australian certified seed potatoes. Crops grown in accordance with a certified scheme undergo rigorous inspection and monitoring for virus and virus like symptoms.

Mandatory PSTVd screening for new varieties prior to their inclusion into the national germplasm collection has been occurring for many years.

Spread and damage

PSTVd is a highly contagious disease, transmitted between plants by touch. The use of cutting or pruning tools, contaminated machinery,  or any form of physical contact between plants,  can result in disease transmission. Seed with PSTVd can also remain infectious for long periods. In potatoes, PSTVd can also spread from one generation to the next through infected tubers. Symptoms may be mild in initial infections but become progressively worse in the following generations. Common symptoms of severe infections include colour changes in the foliage, smaller leaves and spindle like elongation. Sprouting also occurs at a slower rate than in unaffected potatoes.

Key changes

Effective 1 March 2016 entry of potatoes for propagation into the NSW Seed Potato Protected Areas* is prohibited unless consignments are:

(a)  sourced from a property where an officer responsible for agriculture has issued an area freedom certificate certifying that the State or Territory or part of the State or Territory is known to be free of PSTVd; or

(b) produced and certified under an approved Certified Seed Potato Scheme that includes mandatory PSTVd testing; or

(c) tested in a manner approved by the Chief Plant Protection Officer NSW; and accompanied by a plant health certificate, plant health assurance certificate, permit, or approved certified seed tag, certifying or declaring that the material meets one of the three conditions outlined above.

Where requested, consignments must be presented for verification by an inspector or by a person accredited to do so by NSW Department of Primary Industries.

Approved testing

Means the collection of a 200 leaf sample from an actively growing crop by an authorised officer, and testing of this sample through an approved laboratory.

*NSW Seed Potato Protected Areas encompass the following Local Government Areas:Armidale Dumaresq Council, Cabonne Council, Guyra Shire Council, UpperLachlan Shire Council, Bathurst Regional Council, Glen Innes Severn Council, Oberon Council, Walcha Council, Blayney Shire Council, Goulburn Mulwaree Council, Orange City Council.

Further information

Contact Bev Zurbo, Senior Industry Liaison Officer on 02 6938 1976 or email [email protected] 

These additional requirements for PSTVd ensure that the Plant Health Market Access Program continues to provide a high standard of service to industry and will appear in the NSW Plant Quarantine Manual following implementation on 1 March 2016.

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