Plant Health Propagation Scheme (PHPS)
This is a certification scheme which aims to promote the production and use of healthy, proven planting stock for soft fruit (strawberries, berry fruit and currants), top fruit (apples, pears, cherries and plums) and hops. It is run in accordance with EPPO (European Plant Protection Organisation) guidelines and in line with the evolving EU Directive Requirements on the marketing of Fruit Plant Material.
The scheme is established and maintained by the PHSI (Plant Health & Seeds Inspectorate) and is available to be operated on a franchise basis by contracting industry groups with the PHSI conducting inspections, audits and authorisations to meet official and statutory requirements.
In addition, for Fruit Plant Material listed in schedule 1 of the Marketing of Fruit Plant Material Regulations 2010 and also for Hops, the inspections made under the PHPS will cover all required plant passport inspections.
Purpose of the Scheme
The PHPS aims to provide commercial growers with planting material descended from stock that is proven both in terms of health and vigour.
What are the advantages of buying PHPS material?
Material certified under the Scheme is certified to endorse its health status and, if appropriate, its trueness to variety (see 'Grades' below). We cannot guarantee that every plant certified under the PHPS will be completely free from pests or diseases - no practical, cost effective certification scheme can do that - but PHPS plants are grown under strict conditions which provide valuable plant health assurances.
How does the PHPS work?
Material entered into the Scheme must be of known lineage, except that entered at the very lowest grade. All material must be grown under specific conditions with regard to site and isolation from other crops. During the course of the year, the crop is inspected at least once by a local Fera Plant Health and Seeds Inspector (PHSI). The frequency and timing of inspections vary and are set out in the special conditions leaflets, as are levels of tolerances for the different diseases. Assessments are normally made on the basis of visual examinations, but samples may be taken for laboratory analysis in order to provide a definitive diagnosis.
Crops are entered to produce a specific grade and will normally be certified in that grade if all the conditions of the scheme are met. These grades are normally inspected for trueness to type i.e. for conformity with varietal and clonal characteristics (except bulbs). Where this is not possible, a Nominal (N) grade may be available.
The main grades are:
- Foundation (F)
- Super Elite (SE)
- Elite (E)
- A (A)
In addition an Approved Health (AH) grade is available for some stocks of untested or unknown pedigree. Stocks are inspected for health and vigour only, but they must meet similar conditions in terms of freedom from pests and diseases and if successful they are designated approved rather than certified. For PHPS Growers who have some stocks of genera covered by the PHPS but which cannot meet scheme requirements but which do meet the basic EU requirements there is a CAC designation.
- Approved Health (A-H)
- Passporting grade (CAC)
There are minimum husbandry standards which are generally applicable, such as the need for control of weeds, pests and diseases, and specific conditions for the type of crop, for example on isolation distances and particular pests and diseases.
In addition to the categories described above, rootstocks and ornamental varieties associated with top fruit may be submitted for certification. Material from other countries is eligible provided it meets equivalent standards to the Scheme. A table is available indicating equivalence of top fruit certified in other countries. Further tables are available showing the equivalence of certified strawberry material and certified Rubus material from The Netherlands. For details about other crops please contact your local inspector.
Who can enter crops?
Any grower in England and Wales who can meet both the general conditions for entry and the specific conditions for the crop concerned. Your local inspector will be happy to advise you about the Scheme. New growers in particular may wish to consult their local inspector before entering crops into the Scheme.
Links to the Scheme Explanatory leaflets can be found on the right-hand side of this page.
Applications for the PHPS should be addressed to a PHPS franchise operator;
Nuclear Stock Association (NSA), Sarah Troop,
Where do I obtain certified material?
A record of PHPS stocks certified in 2013 is available from www.nsa-plants.co.uk