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  Another Windmill for Tilting?
From: DAVID LEEDY <djleedy at sbcglobal.net> on 2013.01.27 at 14:19:55(22770)

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.”



From: "John Criswick" <criswick at spiceisle.com> on 2013.01.27 at 19:19:47(22771)
Dear David,

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 their demands.

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: Ken Mosher <ken at spatulacity.com> on 2013.01.27 at 22:29:01(22772)

To answer your questions:

1) Probably virtually none.

2) No, I wouldn't go all quixotic on this issue. A man 1/3 of your
age wouldn't get anywhere with it in his lifetime.

Not that I'd ever counsel anyone to break the law (not publicly,
anyway), when sending small packages via the postal service there is
almost no chance the package will be opened and inspected. If you
and your British trading partner were simply to box up a small
number of tubers and declare something like "birthday gift" on the
customs form you are both very likely to receive your packages
without drama.

Naturally I have no personal experience with such subterfuge, but
I've heard stories whispered in the corners of smoky bars in
disreputable sections of town.

Good growing,




From: Theodore Held <oppenhauser2001 at gmail.com> on 2013.01.29 at 18:47:15(22774)
Oh, dear, this sounds like a windmill immune to tilting.

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?

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