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seeds in hand

EC Directives control the certification and marketing of seed of the main agricultural and vegetable species. For agricultural species, seed may not be marketed unless it has been officially certified.

Official certification means that the seed marketed meets specific standards; e.g. it has varietal purity, adequate germination and is free from diseases. Only seed of plant varieties on the National List or European Common Catalogue (an amalgam of Member States’ National Lists) is eligible for certification and marketing in the UK.

All the major agricultural and vegetable species grown in the UK are included in the UK National List. National Listing is a legal requirement for new varieties. To be added to a National List, a variety must be distinct, sufficiently uniform and stable (DUS) and, for agricultural crops, have satisfactory value for cultivation and use (VCU).

DUS tests and VCU trials are carried out by various National Test Centres on behalf of National Authorities over, on average, a two year period. The National List and Seeds Committee (NLSC) evaluate the test results and make recommendations for National Listing. The Plant Varieties and Seeds Committee (PVSC) coordinate overall policy on National Listing with the involvement of the Devolved Administrations, including the Welsh Government. The PVSC is also responsible for Plant Breeders Rights and Seed Certification in the UK.

The Welsh Government works closely with the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) on all aspects of seeds policy.  For more information on national listing and seed certification, please visit the FERA website (external link).

Contact us

Natural Environment and Agriculture Team
Welsh Government
Rhodfa Padarn
SY23 3UR


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