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The Plant Nursery Certification Process Will Protect the Farmer from Falsification

In recent years, cultivation of fruit tree gardens is very active in Georgia. All the above mentioned were stimulated by the Project of Agricultural Projects Management Agency-“Start the Future.”

Within this program, Georgian nurseries were able to register in the Agency. The Georgian farmers, who were cultivating fruit tree gardens through the future project, have purchased the seedlings from these registered companies. Correspondingly, stimulation of sales helped farmers to make a decision to start cultivation of seedlings. So it happened and already 44 nursery farms have been observed in ”Start the future” program and whilst in Italy, for example, there are about 40 nurseries. Naturally, most of the seedlings do not meet the basic agrotechnic requirements. In order to protect the Georgian farmer, Georgian Parliament has approved the law on “Access and Methodology for Distribution of Agricultural Varieties which is Subject to mandatory Certification”.

This law regulates the relationship concerning the production, reproduction, processing, storage, certification, realization, traceability and local and imported seeds and planting material of agriculturel seeds and planting materials.

According to the law, there will be created national catalog, which will  include a list of agriculture crop varieties, which are allowed for distribution and are experienced on agricultural use on Georgian teritory.

According to the law, certification of agricultural crop varieties is voluntary, except for the agricultural crop varieties which subordinates to the compulsory certification determined by the Government of Georgia.

Before 1st of January, 2019, the Certification of agriculture crop varieties and planting materials which are subject to mandatory certification will be free of charge for the interested persons, and from 1st of January, 2019 – it will be chargeable.

The mentioned  law also regulates the  seeds which are intended for sale and terms for labeling of  planting material for sale.

Currently, the process of voluntary certification of seedlings has been started.  According to international standards of certification procedures of planting and multiplication materials COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2008/90/EC and EPPO Standards SCHEMES FOR THE PRODUCTION OF HEALTHY PLANTS FOR PLANTING, the farmers who produce planting materials are obliged to submit the test results of soil analysis to the Scientific Research Center of Agriculture and Seed Planting Materials Standards and Certification Research Service. On the existence of virus transmitter nematodes in the soil of nurseries species owned by them such as Prunus (cherry, plums, apricots, peaches), Juglans (walnut), Rubus (raspberry, blackberry), Ribes (currants, gooseberries) and Fragaria (strawberries).

The Laboratory of Ministry of Agriculture has a technical ability to conduct testing of viruses in vegetable material, as well as to identify virus transmitter nematodes in the soil. The problem is that, the farmer himself is not interested in verifying the seedling quality. In most cases, the awareness of the farmer is low and he does not know what damage can cause viral or other diseases.

One of the most important risk factors of completion of stable and long-term development of nurseries is the program “Start the Future” itself. It has caused the stimulation of this sector and majority of nurseries have been increased their capacities by the high interest of the state program, which was emphasized by the farmers. Therefore, the future of the nurseries is unclear after the completion of the project. Supposedly, there will be suspension of guaranteed sales, which will result in a decrease of market prices. Although, if there is a high demand for Georgian products in the international markets and there will appear exports ways from Georgia (as it happened on the nut case), the development of the mentioned field is possible without the project “Start the Future”.

  • The problems of development of local nurseries are:
  • Deficit of special techniques (plant recycling, planting equipment)
  • Lack of skilled specialists is problematic
  • Lack of usage of modern technologies.

However, it should be noted that 10 nursery saplings in Georgia are producing high quality nurseries, having relevant knowledge, technology and technical equipment.

We hope that the certification process will further assist the process of producing high quality seedlings and this, in its turn, will protect the farmer from falsification, which ensures the production of  high quality products.

Article by Irakli Chikava, Agro Solutions