To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what objectives there are for the OrganicXseeds database; how long the database has been in operation; and how much his Department spent on (a) maintaining the database and (b) producing an annual report of non-organic seed authorisations in the last 12 months.
The UK is legally required to maintain a database listing the varieties of available organic seed or seed potatoes. The regulation detailing that requirement notes that the database should help operators to find organic seed and seed potatoes. The UK database has been in operation since 2004, with a separate database for Northern Ireland going live in 2021 following EU-exit. Since its inception in 2004, Defra has delegated the operation and maintenance of the database, and production of the annual non-organic seed authorisation reports, to the Soil Association. In 2022-23, Defra paid the Soil Association £23,086 + VAT for carrying out those responsibilities.