[Arisaema-l] [Aroid-l] Another Windmill for Tilting?
djleedy at sbcglobal.net
Fri Feb 1 05:38:38 CET 2013
Dear Deni, Mark, John, Ted, Betsy, and others,
Thank you so very much for your cogent responses.
I wonder if this conversation shouldn't also be had on other plant society lists
(Orchid, Succulent, Begonia, Amaryllidaceae, etc.), on organization lists
(American Horticultural Society, The American Plant Life Society, etc.), as well
as the many internet blogs and websites (Dave's Garden, etc.).
I am quite interested in what the whole community thinks about this and would
appreciate receiving copies of all comments and suggestions, whatever the
If anyone is a member of any of these (or other places, you may think
appropriate) please introduce the subject in the way you think appropriate. You
are quite welcome to borrow from my initial posting.
Again, thank you all.
djleedy at sbcglobal.net
From: Deni Bown <denibown at googlemail.com>
To: djleedy at sbcglobal.net; criswick at spiceisle.com
Sent: Thu, January 31, 2013 3:42:23 PM
Subject: tilting at windmills
Dear David and John,
I wholeheartedly endorse your sentiments re: punitive import restrictions, not
because they don't make sense - outbreaks of disease have I think been traced to
casual importation of an exotic - but because they are draconian. A separate set
of rules - I don't imagine we could legally dispense with all rules - should be
applied to hobbyists and other importers of small quantities, just as travellers
have a duty-free quota for alcohol etc. This would reduce the risk of both the
importer and the authority bending the rules or lying to get round the red tape.
Quite how we get round the real live phyto issues is another question. Serious
small-scale collectors and nurseries are aware of pests and diseases they would
most certainly not want in their stock so are likely to take sensible
precautions, whereas the spur-of-the-moment import by a traveller with no
long-term investment in the plant's future should concern us as he/she is
probably worryingly unaware of such issues.
The answer surely is for authorities to accommodate the small scale importer
with a different but equally realistic permit. Isn't anyone doing this now? I
remember years ago importing from USA and Caribbean to the UK. In one instance
the UK authorities came to inspect the plants a few weeks later in my greenhouse
and actually found some scale insect that hadn't been spotted during the
certification - which goes to show..... but there was no great wahallah (as they
say in Nigeria where I live) and we simply agreed a sensible course of action
(isolation, spray regime etc.).
I now work for an agricultural research organisation. Though my work does not
involve crops, I have to abide by phytosanitary regulations designed to prevent
cross-border pathogens of food plants and therefore I have to refuse requests by
collectors & nurseries in Europe for small quantities of seeds of the
spectacular Pararistolochia goldieana and other indigenous species which are
increasingly rare here due to deforestation and could do with some help from the
In most cases - such as the 'P.g.' plant - these regulations don't really make
sense. However, some exotics are related to crop plants and could be hosts for
the next big plague. It's not easy.........
Please let's keep this discussion going. There are important issues at stake.
Consultant, Flora & Medicinal Plants
Project Manager, IITA Forest Project (www.reforest-iita.org)
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
Work: +234 2 7517472 ext 2520
Mobile (Nigeria) +234 806 0486022
Mobile (UK) +44 787 0345924
From: John Criswick <criswick at spiceisle.com>
To: Discussion of aroids <aroid-l at www.gizmoworks.com>
Sent: Tue, January 29, 2013 1:59:22 PM
Subject: Re: [Aroid-l] Another Windmill for Tilting?
It has become increasingly obvious in recent years that plant health authorities
are trying to make it impossible for plant collectors to transport plants from
country to country, leaving only large commercial growers able to comply with
This is to ignore the tremendous contribution made by non-commercial plantsmen
to horticulture for centuries. To them we owe the rich diversity of
horticultural material available to us. Yes it IS a cause worth battling for !
From:aroid-l-bounces at www.gizmoworks.com
[mailto:aroid-l-bounces at www.gizmoworks.com] On Behalf Of DAVID LEEDY
Sent: Sunday, January 27, 2013 6:20 AM
To: Discussion of aroids
Subject: [Aroid-l] Another Windmill for Tilting?
Condition #3 on my Permit to Import Plants: "A phytosanitary certificate must
accompany all propagative material imported under this permit."
I am corresponding with an individual in the UK growing plants in his back yard
as I am doing here. I would like to obtain two or three bulbs of one of the
plants he is growing (an Arum). The cost and other requirements of the
authorities in the UK are so burdensome as to prohibit the type of exchange we
would like to make.
He states: "If you have tangled with Plant Health in the UK you will understand
why I don't want to get wrapped up in it. Last time I worked with the system it
would only accept applications for imports through the online system, and the
online system would only accept shipments of fruit and vegetables in container
loads. The telephone helpline advised me to lie on my application! I."
Today, I received a letter from Michael Watson, Acting Executive Director of
APHIS (USDA), in response to my inquiry, stating:
“…there is no exception to the regulatory requirement for a phytosanitary
certificate when importing small quantities of bulbs or tubers. Bulbs and
tubers are a more likely pathway for pests and disease. Accordingly, we require
that the importer obtain a phytosanitary certificate issued by the national
plant health authorities of the country of export. These certificates provide
assurance that the plant or plant product has been inspected and found free of
plant pests and diseases prior to its entry into the United States. While we
understand that obtaining a phytosanitary certificate may be inconvenient and
can add to the cost of doing business, we assure you that this requirement is
necessary to protect American agriculture.”
I really have two questions:
1. How much American agriculture is really protected by this requirement,
particularly as it relates to exchanges of small quantities of bulbs and tubers
between hobbyists? Is anyone aware of any studies?
2. Is this a windmill worth tilting at? Believe me, I am 73 years old,
retired, and not above taking up lost causes and I have even won some of these.
Please pass this on to anyone who might be able to contribute an idea or
djleedy at sbcglobal.net
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