Importing Bulbs and Seeds

Byron Amerson
Wed, 28 Jan 2009 16:33:13 PST
Greetings All,

I'm new to the list and membership in the PBS.  I have been avidly
following the recent discourse (such as it has been) regarding small
lot seed imports.  Prior to seeing it here, I had no idea that I even
needed a permit to import seeds from abroad.  So that's something
valuable from the flurry of posts right there.  Being quite new to
geophyte cultivation (via a fixation on succulent plants) and eager to
acquire some seed, I figured I would go ahead and get a permit
application submitted and then provide some empirical feedback to the
list as I gain experience with the "official" approach of application
and seed import.

The online application procedure is clunky at best.  I find it curious
that I can mail in an application with no ID requirement, but for
online transactions I need to go in person to provide ID before
setting up an account.  I consider myself reasonably web-savvy, and I
perform many critical transactions over the web, and have never had to
provide my ID in this way.  If it's good enough for the IRS, shouldn't
it be good enough for APHIS? The APHIS website specifically claims
that they provide the web application process for speedier processing.
 Alas, it does not live up to this promise despite the
information-rich content otherwise provided on the site.  If they want
more people to use the web portal to reduce paper use and speed up the
process, then this impediment needs to be remedied, because for now it
is a stopper.  Perhaps their concern for fraud via the web is higher
than for paper?

For now I sent in my paper application (no ID required!).  South
Africa is the only country I'll be importing from, and I stated "all
eligible species" in the species section, as directed in the
instructions for when there are more taxa than will fit in the
allotted space.  FYI, that choice to not list specific taxa means its
up to me to make sure I'm not importing CITES listed species.

I'll post to the list when I receive the permit  to give an idea of
turn around time.  Once I receive the permit, I'll go ahead and follow
the procedure to import some seeds to see how it works out.  I'll also
post my experiences in that endeavor, for the edification of others.

Here is a thorny question that I hate to ask: how does this small lot
seed import permit requirement affect the PBX?  I can see this being a
can of worms not only conceptually, but it seems the mechanics of
actually implementing it could be well beyond tedious, if not
downright prohibitive.  I can imagine that the PBX is already a
considerable effort for Dell (thanks!) without an extra bureaucratic

Regards, Byron

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