TALLINN – Workers from the plant health laboratories of the Nordic and Baltic countries and Poland are meeting at the Estonian Agricultural Research Center in Saku not far from Tallinn on Wednesday and Thursday to exchange experiences.
The host of the once-yearly meeting is the Estonian Agricultural Research Center, which set off the tradition of such meetings 13 years ago.
"Estonia is a participant in international trade, therefore we must take into account that harmful organisms, bacteria, insects and others that are new to our region may reach Estonia too," said Karme Petrutis, head of the Laboratory of Plant Health and Microbiology of the Estonian Agricultural Research Center.
"The questions that we and our neighbors have are the same -- what harmful organisms we will have to identify in the future and what is the methodology of their identification. It's necessary to exchange experiences between us. Therefore we were very interested years ago in the establishment of a cooperation network of countries situated climatically in regions similar to ours. The meeting of plant health laboratories for the first time took place in 2006," Petrutis said.
On Thursday, representatives from Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Estonia will be sitting at the table in Saku. The central topics will be new requirements for the accreditation of laboratories and the new European Union Control Regulation taking effect at the end of 2019.
Petrutis said that while people at the Estonian Agricultural Research Center are communicating with their colleagues round the year, eye-to-eye meetings are very necessary as well.
Oversight over the fulfillment of the requirements set forth in the Plant Protection Act is exercised in Estonia by the Agricultural Board in conjunction with the national plant health reference laboratory. In Estonia the role of reference laboratory is performed by the Laboratory of Plant Health and Microbiology of the Estonian Agricultural Research Center.
The purpose of reference laboratories is to ensure the reliability and comparability of the findings of laboratories both on the national and international level.