So despite this program being several years in, there still seems to be some confusion about whether one has to be a plant passporter or not.
We are. We talked to our local plant Health Inspector (Hi Sam!) who talked us through the process and then talked specifically about what we do and whether we need to be a Plant Passporter or just a Professional operator. First visit is free at the moment, but do check with them before they come.
The basic difference is whether you sell to other commercial outifts or not. So if we sell our plants to the public directly; plant fairs, retail shop, in person collecton, or even online with us delivering direct we wouldn’t need to passport. But, we sell online and we don’t deliver in person, so not only don’t we know if who we are selling to is a commercial outift (in the main!) but in biosecurity terms we hand it over to the courier and who knows what our plants come into contact with then. So we need to passport.
That said if we buy from a wholesale nursery and have our plants delivered to the customer site direct, we do this on the nursery plant passport, no need to relabel but we do keep records for passporting checking (max 3 years).
Clear so far?
If you are not selling online but face to face, or having your plants delivered direct to clients from a nursery, you still need to register as a Professional Operator.
Like many flora-preneurs we looked into options for selling dahlia tubers (very straight forward) dahlia seed saved (bit more involved) and even selling our own seedmixes (much more complicated). If we sell our dahlias to a commercial outift then we need to have a growing season inspection which at roughly £64 per 15 mins is going to be pretty pricey. Consequently we are going to restict tuber sales to limited runs and to the public only so no growing season inspections.
We do have an annual passporting visit with our local inspector, just 1. He checks records and looks at how we label – non of our lines need growing season inspections so just one inspection. So far it’snever been more than the minimum charge of 30 mins and they are pretty pragmatic about times, combining this visit with a general quarantine surveillance visit on all our stock.
Our passporting label is pre printed (batch of 21 per A4 sheet – Tesco All Purpose – set up with a label template in Word) with our APHA number (b) and UK country of origin (d) as we only sell our own plants, then I hand write Genus (a) and identifying code (c) (we use order number). We are very small so this works for us, I might print 2 sheets a year! Also we sell limited Genus (Iris and Dahlia :D) so I can always fit them in.
If you want to gen up there is a plant passport section on the plant health portal, you can email to find your local inspector and make contact for a chat and you can follow the e-learning which is good though a bit random and wide reaching!