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Spreading the Plant Health Message

5th March 2017

A newly formed Plant Health Steering Group sees IML collaborating with DEFRA and the HTA (Horticultural Trade Association) to develop an effective plant health regulation scheme to be used by nurseries and growers, regardless of their size or turnover.

We currently produce plant passports and licenses for our existing horticultural customers, and thanks to our close links to this sector, and our plant labelling expertise, we were chosen to help develop this scheme to ensure plant health regulation is prioritised, supported and maintained throughout the horticultural industry.  Horticultural goods should be certified as being free from disease and contagions allowing goods to be imported and exported with confidence.

The UK is leading the way in terms of plant health innovation and implementation. However, between 5 and 10 new threats to plant health are being recorded on the Plant Health Register per month. This figure highlights the need for a regulated, recognised and universal system for plant health safeguarding.  We recently attended the HTA‘s Contact Conference to explore the benefits of a Plant Health Regulation Scheme.

What Would The Plant Health Regulation Scheme Involve?

As this project is still in the early phases, the exact requirements of the scheme are yet to be defined. However, it is thought that it will consist of the following elements:

  • A full review of the current system.
  • Staff training to ensure a consistent level of knowledge and understanding.
  • A code of good practice for businesses to adhere to.
  • Thorough recording of plant health issues and actions.
  • The production of disease resilient stock.
  • Raising awareness of the scheme through customers, staff, contractors, suppliers and the general public.
  • A commitment to continual improvement of plant health regulations.

Horticultural labelling will play an important part in this scheme, as plants will be identified as being compliant to the regulations through effective labelling and branding.

We’re thrilled to be involved in this scheme, which we believe will bring a positive change to the horticultural industry.