Certification of seed potatoes in New Zealand is provided by the New Zealand Seed Potato Certification Authority, which runs a national quality assurance programme. The Authority is a subcommittee of Potatoes New Zealand Inc.
The Authority is a completely independent agent of the potato industry. The Authority establishes the seed potato certification rules, including disease tolerances, and has the task of ensuring seed potatoes are true-to-type. This is done by contracting independent, specialised inspectors from international quality assurance companies SGS and AsureQuality to visually inspect crops in the field as well as tubers after harvesting.
Whilst membership of the NZ Seed Potato Certification Scheme is voluntary, growers cannot sell certified seed potatoes (the kind of seed potatoes buyers want) without signing up to the programme, following its rules and undergoing its inspections.
The 2013 Potato Industry Strategy states the key objective of the NZSPCA is to improve the rules, systems and structures of seed certification to better meet the intent of quality assurance and increase participation in the scheme.
The key activities for the NZSPCA, which were identified in the strategic plan were to:
- Review the rules for quality assurance and certification (overseen by the NZSPCA technical committee)
- Review the capacity of inspection providers to perform necessary tasks
- Specifically the availability of qualified, competent inspectors at peak times
- Review the alignment of the seed certification authority with the best interests of the industry overall
Previously in 2005, Potatoes New Zealand had undertaken a review of the seed potato certification operations, processes and rules, and is in the process of adopting several recommendations. Read the full review findings.
History of NZSPCA
- Andy Innes (Chair) – Seed grower, Canterbury
- Richard Redfern – Seed grower, Canterbury
- Tony Hendrikse – Merchant, Hamilton
- Kerry Hughes – Merchant, Canterbury
- Scott Clelland – End user (McCain Foods), Canterbury
- Monty Spencer – End user (A.S. Wilcox), Pukekohe
The Authority also has a Secretary who is responsible for much of the day to day administration of the Authority and its activities. For more information on the Secretary’s responsibilities.
Certified Seed Lines:
Seed potato certification applications are listed in the spreadsheet below. This shows all applicants, varieties and harvest classes, and is updated regularly.
List of Certified Seedlines – 2017 Harvest April 2017 (Excel Spreadsheet)
NZSPCA Registered Potato Tissue Culture & Mini Tuber Facilities (18 August 2016)
Guides and Newsletters: