05 December 2018
Ware for seed switch exposed
The Breeders Trust, which represents the interests of potato growers and seed producers on issues relating to compliance with and enforcement of plant breeder’s rights, has exposed a large seed potato company in the Netherlands, for switching ware potatoes for seed potatoes.
The major fraud involved a switch of at least 200 tons of potatoes. Seed company Mts. H. te Luttelgeest (the Netherlands) was caught red-handed.
Breeders Trust had been monitoring a potato field for months, after establishing that it was driven in with a roguing cart, but had not been inspected by the NAK (Dutch Inspection Service). It was also noticeable that the planting distance did not reflect the usual planting distance for the cultivation of ware potatoes.
When the field was harvested, and its yield tracked, more than 100 hectares of seed potatoes, were exposed, including the “french-fry” varieties Fontane and Innovator. The potato grower was caught in the act of labelling and adding to the seed potato lot.
This is a major misconduct, according to Mr Geert Staring, director of the Brussels-based Breeders Trust.
He said: “We compared the data from field sampling of various seed potato growers over the past three years with the gross yields per variety and per hectare. Normally, these are determined by the field staff, which must include all contract potatoes in storage in the seed potato storages. This information was filled into the certificates issued by the NAK, as well as the delivery notes. Subsequently, the allotment for so-called “own use” (with the permission of the variety owner, a certain amount is withheld, i.e. a pre-registered quantity of seed potatoes for planting on their own plot in the following growing season), was subtracted so that an accurate and complete picture of the situation could be ascertained. This is another way in which the involved seed potato company could be exposed. This research will be further expanded over several cultivation years.”
The NAK confirmed that “appropriate measures” have since been taken.