Garlic plant certification aims to: guarantee the quality of plants purchased by farmers and promote the diffusion of genetically enhanced plants.
It takes 6 years to produce a certified plant. The first three generations are systematically propagated under insect-proof tunnels, safe from any risk of exterior contamination. Unhealthy or heterogeneous families are destroyed.
The fourth and fifth generations may be propagated under tunnels or in open fields. Any plant presenting defects is destroyed: non-compliant (variety), diseased plants (white rot, viruses).
The last generation is propagated in open fields. Once again, as with previous generations, any plants presenting defects are destroyed.
Requirements as defined by technical regulations for certification by the French Ministry of Agriculture apply throughout the process.
Garlic plant certification is based on two important criteria:
• varietal identity and purity
• phytosanitary status
Varietal identity and purity
In France only varieties that are registered in the French catalogue or the European catalogue can be produced and certified. Confirmation of varietal identity is therefore mandatory, as well as compliance with varietal purity requirements (99% for the first generation).
Inspections are carried out from the beginning of propagation and over the successive generations of plants.
Phytosanitary status is another important prerequisite for garlic plant certification.
The pedoclimatic conditions in France are ideal for producing quality garlic plants. A number of geographical areas offer favourable conditions for the phytosanitary selection of plants belonging to the genus Allium. Only land that has not been cultivated with plants of the genus Allium in the last five years can be used for propagation.
In addition to these requirements, propagation must comply with very strict regulations. For one thing, it must meet the prerequisites set out in the genealogical scheme for production, , which requires the use of F0 starter material (supplied by the maintainer and which is compliant with the variety as described by the CTPS at the time of registration in the official French or European catalogue), and a limited number of generations (maximum of 6).
Virus testing using ELISA
Inspections are carried out at every stage of the propagation process in order to detect harmful organisms.
Inspections are chiefly focused on harmful organisms (white rot, nematodes, viruses) that are likely to disadvantage the buyer. Diseased plants are removed, destroyed or turned down for certification. Descriptive sheets of pests and diseases taken into account for certification will soon be available online.
Inspections are carried out at every stage of the propagation process: pre-cultivation, cultivation, analysis of samples at harvest. In order to be certified, plants must comply with standards applying to French production. Evaluation sheets drawn up during inspections are recorded in a computerized database.
Certified plants after packaging
Once plants have been certified, they are packaged in sealed bags bearing an official certification label (certificate or blue label). This label identifies certified plants and ensures that they are allowed free circulation within the European Union. This label also guarantees plant traceability in case there is any problem.