Seed Potato Certificate Forgery Discovered in the Netherlands and Belgium
Falsified seed potatoes certificates of the Dutch Seed potato inspection service, NAK (Nederlandse Algemene Keuringsdienst) were found in circulation in the Netherlands and Belgium last month. However, Breeders Trust – an organization of ten seed potato breeding companies from Germany, the Netherlands, France, and Denmark with members such as Agrico, Meijer and Danespo – in cooperation with NAK, succeeded in tracing the perpetrators shortly afterward.
“The fraud committed with the NAK certificates will no doubt have serious consequences for the seed potato growers, trades and export involved. We are also concerned about the potential negative consequences for Belgian consumers and growers in the marketplace if the authorities do not decide that these newly planted potatoes have to be removed as quickly as possible and destroyed right away,” noted Geert Staring, director of Breeders Trust.
The fraud case implicates the largest Dutch seed potato growing farmer, planting more than 350 hectares of seed potatoes annually. The scam was reportedly committed over at least the past 3 growing seasons. The farmer has now admitted that he has repeatedly withdrawn the Fontane variety from the seed potato pool. With this, the accused party knowingly committed a breach of contract and thereby seriously affected the seed potato trading and export while the company is concerned.
For the past growing year alone, at least 250 tons of seed potatoes without official NAK certificates were apparently sold privately to the trading company Zeeland Trade B.V. established in Vogelwaarde. With the falsified certificates applied by this trading company, this material eventually found its way in particular to (ignorant) Belgian growers of consumption potatoes.
Breeders Trust calls on all Dutch and Belgian growers of ware potatoes, as well as brokers, to check in their administration records that verify the certificates they have received in bulk over the past 3 years via the trading company Zeeland Trade. If it turns out that in recent years, in addition to the Fontane variety, more lots and varieties with a forged certificate (with numbers 549,495,787) have been traded, Breeders Trust will continue the investigation. Consumers and brokers are invited to report to Breeders Trust or the NAK. Reports will be treated with strict confidence.
In view of the seriousness and scope of the fraud case, the seed potato farmer and the trader involved are facing unprecedented fines and claims. It is to be expected that the trader, in connection with the repeated falsification of the NAK certificate and thereby committing trademark infringement, will be tackled hard by the Dutch Inspection Service, NAK. This also applies to the seed potato farmer involved due to the trading of uncertified seed potatoes.