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nafex - Re: [NAFEX] Importation of seeds.

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  • Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Importation of seeds.
  • Date: Fri, 30 May 2008 00:11:12 EDT

Hi Donna,

You are absolutely correct, there are many aspects of USDA regulations that are contradictory as well as not covering all bases. And yes, the Emerald Ash Bore came into this country in wood shipping crates from China. Yes, you can't bring in Prunus seeds but you can go the grocery store and buy imported plums, peaches, cherries and each has a seed in it. You can't bring in chestnuts, but you can go to the store and buy Italian chestnuts (in season) and plant them instead of eating them. But the law is you can't bring in any seeds without having an import permit. No exceptions! 

Viruses are not the only thing they are trying to guarding us against. Insects is another. They can hide in seed, for example husk maggots hide in seed. So you bring in seeds from a country that has a critter we in the US don't have and you can bring in an introductory base population that in a few years is out of control.

The USDA does regulate the importation of fruit. Example: Prunus can't be imported from countries that have Sharka virus infections.  Likewise the regulations allow seed importers to bring in seed from some areas and not others. But they still must have permits.

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) inspects incoming material. Contact them and ask which plant specie's seeds can be brought in w/o a permit. Check their web site for such a list.

I just checked APHIS Title 7, Chapter III, Part 319, Section 37-7 (b) which specifically lists Ficus as also requiring the importer to have a signed Quarantine growing agreement with the State in which the material is to be grown. In your case TN. The material must remain in quarantine two years.

As an example of how the authorities will work with citizens, last year I brought in persimmon scion material from Japan. With a permit. :-) It is kaki hybrids and Indiana is too cold normally for kaki.  I didn't want to take a chance of it being winter killed before coming out of quarantine. Two other more southern NAFEX members both of which are regular contributors on this net applied to their states authorities and signed quarantine agreements. I received permission from Indiana's authorities to export some of the material to them specifically, and did. One of mine froze out while it survived with both southern growers. 

Jerry wrote:

    ANY seeds???  I don't think so.  I know I read in years past that small amounts of vegetable seeds can be brought in with no problem.   Is Ficus carica a carrier of some virus?  If erring on the side of caution is good, then is there a source in the US for this species?     
    I know that Ficus seeds are very small and I know that the seeds would be cleaned.  I also know that the US is allowing great big crates made of Chinese wood to be shipped into the US from which borers have infested US trees.  AND they are allowing plants to be grown outside the US to be dug up and brought in to sell for planting, which sounds to me like total insanity.  I do feel that this is a subject worthy of discussion, but I find it a little shocking to hear that the moving of ANY seeds into the US is illegal.  Apparently I have been hearing of terrible crimes being committed by our local immigrant population when I just thought they were talking about growing stuff from back home.  And APHIS definitely needs to come confiscate at least one entire aisle of the Asian grocery we shopped in 2 weeks ago.  I got some Lycium berries and am thinking of trying again to grow the seeds inside.  I bought Aduki beans and finally got hold of some of the traditional Chinese "black beans" featured in so many recipes, they are actually a type of cowpea, so I want to plant both of those.  Somehow I really doubt that the USDA issued import permits for those or the jujubes that I could also try planting from.... the list goes on and on.    Donna


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