Defra is seeking the views of all applicants for seed certification in England and Wales on the proposed five per cent increase in seed certification fees. Revised fee rates would then be implemented from 6 July 2009.
Seed certification ensures that farmers and growers receive seed that is sufficiently pure, healthy, viable and correctly packed, sealed and labelled. Certification fees are used to fund the enforcement and administration of the seed certification system.
Without an increase in fees, Defra would no longer be able to operate the system at its current level, which could lead to a reduction in the standard of seed marketed in the UK and ultimately impact on farmers.
The five per cent increase will ensure Defra fulfils its legislative duty to recover all seed certification costs after a shortfall in revenue in the 2007/2008 financial year.
The revenue shortfall occurred because the government absorbed, through the new simplified fees structure, the large fluctuation in global commodity prices, which included seeds, in 2007/08 - this increase will affect 100 seed companies and will restore the balance.