Plant Passports

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by andrews, Feb 12, 2020.

  1. andrews

    andrews Super Gardener

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    As we sell a few excess plants I thought I'd look into plant passports and when they are needed for a hobbyist.

    It looks like any plants sold via distance selling would need a plant passport so selling on well known auction sites would come into this category if they were posted. Plant swaps appear to be exempt (no idea how free plants pose less risk to plants that you buy)

    Beyond that my eyes glazed over so I thought I'd see if anyone on here has looked into plant passporting.

    If anyone has gone through this, is it an onerous process ? And (Yorkshire gene kicking in here) what are the associated costs ?
     
  2. Victoria

    Victoria Lover of Exotic Flora

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    I know they exist as I have seen them on certain plants here at the garden center. I think my Ruby grapefruit has one certifying it. I had an article on it at one time so will have a look.
     
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    • Victoria

      Victoria Lover of Exotic Flora

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    • andrews

      andrews Super Gardener

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      Thanks for that. It looks like the inspection cost is £120 minimum and I probably sell less than that in total sales a year so it wont be worth me selling beyond people collecting the plants from the house.

      I see the need to control disease and to make plants traceable but I can see this adding disproportionate cost to the price of on line plants.
       
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      • mazambo

        mazambo Super Gardener

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        I've been on Hart Canna today (Just looking :whistle:) and they have this on their website.

        "An advantage of UK membership of the European Union (EU) was that we could send living plants to anywhere within the EU with no need for import/export documentation (which is prohibitively expensive to obtain). Now that the UK is no longer a member of the EU, the situation has changed. We are in a period of uncertainty when we are not sure whether or not we can continue exporting to the EU. For the present we are contiuing to export to the EU.
         
      • shiney

        shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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        Definitely not worth bothering. A couple of the local nurseries used to buy plants from us but they then brought in the plant health licence, so we had to stop.

        You could sell them on the front of your house, or have a plant sale or even a coffee morning (for a charity) and sell them then.

        We sell thousands of plants each year but always from home where people come round, either for our open day or just because they know we have them. It takes a while to work up a reputation for them but a sign outside saying plants for sale will get around. Depending on where you live you could put some outside with an honesty box. Neighbours might want to buy some as well.

        Do you belong to any clubs? Those are good places to sell them. I sell hundreds each year at my bridge clubs. They even order their veggie plants from us. You can buy runner bean seeds in bulk through the internet. Last year I bought 560 for £7. :blue thumb:

        In the old days :old: we used to bring plants back from abroad but you needed a plant import licence - which Mrs Shiney had (we just asked MAFF for one and they gave it :doh:). They did away with needing that, but it may have been because of joining the EU. If so, they may bring it back again.
         
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        • andrews

          andrews Super Gardener

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          Losing the free trade area that we had with the EU is going to increase costs or make it unfeasible to import / export. Plant passport is more around reducing the risk of spreading diseases although I fail to see the difference between selling a plant in the UK on line and exchanging plants at a plant swap. The cynic in me says that the passport is more about government revenue and less about reducing risk.


          We are on a local facebook group for buying and selling plants, along with having a wide network of friends with similar plant tastes. MAFF - that takes me back. It was one of my customers in Leeds - huge sprawling complex of buildings. Plant passport looks to provide traceability of plants and reduce risk of infection - not sure if that is along the lines of the import license.
           
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          • pete

            pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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            Which is why we have imported half a dozen tree diseases in recent years.;)
             
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            • Victoria

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              Certainly takes me back ...I was PA to the CEO of MAFF in Kidlington, posh offices ... a horrid woman so I only stayed with her for about 10 weeks, which was way too long! :hate-shocked:
               
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              • shiney

                shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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                I think that MAFF may have been replaced by Defra :noidea:.

                Yes, the import licence was to protect against importing diseases but was rather a laughable situation. There were three categories of plants: allowed, restricted and prohibited - with a printed list of, supposedly, all the plants. We were supposed to fill in the declaration form with the botanical names of all the plants we were bringing in (totally free of soil). Then we had to go through the Red Barrier to hand one copy to the Customs Officers and show which plants were on each list. As we never brought in anything on the prohibited list it was easier. I remember that Geraniums of any sort were totally prohibited!

                We used to hand our declaration to the officer and attempt to show the plants. As the officers didn't have the faintest idea what the plants were, or their botanical names, they used to just ask us if we had anything on the prohibited list. We always said 'No' and they said, according to the rules, that we must keep all the plants in quarantine for two weeks and if we hadn't heard from MAFF within that time we could them do what we wanted with them. In all the years we were doing it we never heard a word from them.

                A side effect of this was that we always got through quicker than most people. I don't remember anyone ever going through the Red Barrier so it only took a matter of seconds to show the plants (in their bags) and hand over the form. Then we were through. Everyone else went through the Green Barrier, usually trying to get away with not declaring their excess amount of booze and fags, and people were stopped quite often and checked.

                One family that was on our flight had a set routine for trying to get away with it - they were at the same hotel as us and they told us about what they do. The father carried the seven year old daughter in his arms and when they just entered the Green Barrier the father said to the girl 'Start Now' and she started screaming that she wanted an ice cream. She was very loud and the customs officers told them to hurry on through. They used to do that with their older child and the youngest would be trained next :hate-shocked:.
                 
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                • NigelJ

                  NigelJ Total Gardener

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                  Another potential issue for plant imports and exports is CITES currently within the EU nursery propagated species covered by CITES can be traded fairly easily. However for countries outside the EU the costs are prohibitive something like £75 per CITES genus + £1.50 per species per order. As a result many nurseries do not ship cyclamen and galanthus outside the EU; at the moment things continue as before Jan 31st, however who knows what the future holds.
                   
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                  • shiney

                    shiney President, Grumpy Old Men's Club Staff Member

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                    The Convention covers many countries but the EU have their own import/export regulations. It is thought that there should be similar regulations between the UK and EU as there are already as the EU would suffer more than the UK would if they get too tough. Holland is particularly worried about this as the UK is a major part of the plant and veg exports.

                    Overall we export approx. £290 billion of goods to the EU and we import approx. £355 billion from them. In the last twelve years the EU has accounted for 10% less of our exports. I have no idea how the balance will be affected in future. :noidea:
                     
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                    • Victoria

                      Victoria Lover of Exotic Flora

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                      True. I believe that happened around 2000. Defra also controls Pet Passports which our British babes had when they came here with us in 2001. :cat-kittyandsmiley:

                       
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                      • Hemeroholic

                        Hemeroholic Apprentice Gardener

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                        Anyone selling plants even over the garden gate must now register with the Defra agency covering their area, Apha in England & Wales, Sasa in Scotland. Anyone distance selling must apply to issue Plant Passports, the charges for hobbyists are under review but at the moment it's a min. of £122 in England & Wales, Scotland have a fixed fee of around £82.
                        The need for inspections depend on the types of plant you are selling.
                         
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                        • andrews

                          andrews Super Gardener

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                          Thanks @Hemeroholic - lets hope that they review the cost to hobbyists as I can see a lot (and I'm not condoning it) ignoring the plant passport due to cost.

                          Looks like I need to look into registering.
                           
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