A huge success
The UNECE specialized section on seed potatoes technical meeting was held in Melbourne April 2-4 2014. This meeting was hosted by AuSPICA and the Australian Seed Potato Council and involved delegates from United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, Finland, Economic Commission, South Africa, New Zealand, Western Australia, Tasmania, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.
The technical discussions of the meeting focused on the review and amendment of the UNECE Standard for seed potato and associated guides. The delegates also saw first hand seed production in Gippsland. A grower meeting held in Ballarat was very successful with around 50 attendees. The grower dinner provided an opportunity for Australian industry to learn about overseas seed poato production including issues such as Potato Virus Y. The meeting provided a rare opportunity to hear from seed potato specialists from around the world.
The UNECE delegates took the opportunity to learn of Australian technology and capacity which underpins seed potato certification. In doing so, a tour of DEPI's new Agribio facility at La Trobe University was undertaken and a presentation given by Dr Brendan Rodoni (DEPI) on diagnostic service provision. In addition, Brendan Larkin (DEPI) and Ben Dowling (Dowling AgriTech) spoke on the opportunities for export of Australian seed potatoes.