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New restrictions on imported seed

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/04/2016

New border restrictions have been imposed to stop contaminated seed coming into the country.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has announced the restrictions in light of the discovery of velvetleaf in fodder beet seeds imported from Europe.

The weed harms crops by competing with them for nutrients and water, and has contaminated fodder beet plantations on the North and South Islands, with the majority of cases in Canterbury.

MPI spokesman Stephen Butcher says the restrictions will provide another layer of security until MPI knows how the contaminated seeds entered the country.

All contaminated fodder beet seed lines are banned. Two MPI officers must sign off other beet seed imports at the border, and all pelleted seed imports will be laboratory tested.

"The measures will result in the increased scrutiny of seed imports. And they will ensure this scrutiny takes place at the highest level of MPI, based on specialist advice," he said.

MPI will visit fodder beet-growing regions in Europe in the upcoming growing season to discuss New Zealand import requirements.

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