27 July 1998
EU to act on brown rot in spuds

By FWi staff

NEW control measures for the plant disease potato brown rot have been adopted by the European Union.

The measures were negotiated under the UKs presidency and come into force in July 1999.

Jeff Rooker, junior farm minister, welcomed the controls: “I am pleased we were able to complete negotiation of this Directive under our Presidency. Potato brown rot poses a serious threat to our potato production and the measures that have been agreed will provide important safeguards against it.

“The Ministry is already taking steps to eradicate known pockets of infection in this country and will continue to monitor for its presence.”

The key elements are a requirement that member states should undertake systematic surveys for the presence of the organism and follow specific control and eradication measures when it is found, including:

  • Investigation into the source and extent of infection;
  • Controlled disposal of infected material;
  • Prohibitions on planting host crops on infected fields;
  • Restrictions on production of host crops elsewhere on infected holdings;
  • Restrictions on use of infected watercourses for irrigation of host crops.