Vegetable seeds policy review

Australia relies heavily on the overseas supply of seeds for vegetable crop and herb production.

Vegetable seeds are currently imported under our standard import conditions for seeds for sowing. Recent changes to risks associated with imported seeds have prompted the department to review the import conditions for vegetable seeds for sowing, to ensure they adequately address the potential biosecurity risks.

Seed-borne pathogens have increasingly been reported outside their known distribution, the vegetable seed trade is expanding globally, and seed production is often conducted across several countries.

This increases the likelihood of exposure to pathogens and the introduction of pathogens to new areas.

Seeds under review

To address these changing risks, we are conducting an extensive review of existing import conditions for vegetable seeds from these four families:

  • Apiaceae family (carrot, celery, parsley)
  • Brassicaceae family (cauliflower, cabbage)
  • Cucurbitaceae family (cucumber, gourd, melon)
  • Solanaceae family (capsicum, eggplant, tomato).

There are several steps in the policy review process.

  1. Our technical specialists identify any unwanted pests and diseases that might be found in the selected seed families and are not present in Australia. They then assess the risk of these pests and diseases being brought in with the seeds.
  2. Our staff liaise with industry and relevant state and territory government representatives to gather stakeholder input to ensure we have all available scientific and other relevant information.
  3. After publication of the draft report, stakeholders can make submissions on it during a mandated 60 calendar day consultation period.

The review is funded under the Australian Government’s Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper and is one way we are strengthening biosecurity surveillance and analysis.

Industry engagement

While we are working to safeguard Australia’s agricultural industries, any new regulatory measures could affect seed importers and Australian primary producers.

We have established an Imported Seeds Regulation Working Group to engage across industry and government on the identification and effective regulatory management of seed biosecurity risks.

More information

All interested stakeholders are invited to register their interest to receive regular updates on these reviews.

For further information or questions contact us on 1800 900 090.