All sectors (fresh/table and processing) of the Australian industry are underpinned by certified seed production. An effective seed certification scheme ensures the efficient production of a stable food product to consumers.
The Australian Seed Potato Council (ASPC) was stablished in 2013 and is a framework of collaboration with all Seed Potato Certification Schemes in Australia.
The terms of reference set the purpose of the ASPC
- Review the National Standard for Certification of Seed Potatoes while seeking industry consultation to monitor the relevance of the Standards to industry and market needs.
- Benchmark the Australian National Standard for Certification of Seed Potatoes with those of other countries giving priority to those countries that export seed potatoes to markets that may be of interest to Australia.
- Keep up to date with novel and emerging technologies that can enhance the precision of certification processes and/or reduce costs.
- Promote the seed certification Schemes.
- Facilitate the National registration and catalogue of varieties.
The goal of the ASPC is to facilitate trade through common terminology and standards of certification and provide a National focus to seed potato certification. This is achieved through the collaboration and exchange of all seed certification authorities in Australia. Importantly, the Australian National Standard for Certification of Seed Potatoes provides a minimum commercial quality standard, which forms the basis of each seed Scheme.
The ASPC ensures conditions of the National scheme are maintained and updated with changing farming practices and new technology. In addition, proactive collaboration under the ASPC ensures that the conditions of the National scheme meet production requirements for both domestic and export trade.
The objective of seed potato certification programs is to provide reasonable assurances of seed quality. The reference to seed is not true botanical seed. It is a reference to potato tubers that serve as vegetative units for propagation of plants that will produce the new potato crop. Many potato diseases are systemic in potato plants and can be carried in or on the surface of such "seed" tubers.
The ASPC has a governance group, a grower group and a technical group. The governance group is listed below.
Ms Kay Spierings (AuSPICA)
Mr Michael Davies (Western Australian Certified Seed Potato Scheme)
Ms Sue Hinton (Tasmanian Certified Seed Potato Scheme)
Mr Kim Weir (Crookwell Growers Association, NSW)