I’m Lauren, the Propagation Manager at the North America RIC here in Fort Myers, Florida. This spring I’ll be traveling to visit friends who are doing work in Kampala, Uganda, to assist with some agricultural projects.
I have some questions about transporting seeds and/or plant material internationally, and would love to chat with anyone who has experience traveling into Uganda with plant material, and/or farmers who are currently working in this area that I could learn from.
Feel free to reach out to me directly at: email@example.com
The official process of taking seeds/plant material from the US is to get an import permit from the destination country, then get a phytosanitary certificate with the USDA. From an official standpoint, everything depends on the exact species that you intend to take as each destination has different requirements as to what they do and do not allow. Sometimes, small quantities do not require an import permit. The USDA has just redone their site: https://acir.aphis.usda.gov/s/ and its much easier to search for what the requirements are.
In terms of getting things to survive, this also is very species dependent, as some will require next to no effort, and others, even with the most precious care will die.
With seeds, its pretty straightforward, plant them in the environment closest to what you would normally plant them in. Assume that no type of potting soil can be purchased. Quality and quantity needs to be made and verified ahead of time. With plant materials, its gets more complicated.
In general, keeping things well insulated, not dry, but not too wet. Some things can be kept airtight, but others not so much. Try to reduce the abuse of the plants ie travel time. One delayed airplane or lost luggage could mean everything dies. Avoid short layovers and depending on the final location within the country, have multiple means of transportation and NEVER leave plants in any container in direct sunlight. If possible, keep them in their containers in AC.
The final destinations weather conditions are VERY important. Ranges in daily Humidity Temperature are both important to keep a look at in addition to sun exposure (times of day and duration) and wind.
Assume that 50% of plant material (not seeds) will die. Anything above that and you’re doing pretty good. Don’t underestimate the time of year and seasons at the destination. While it is often difficult with lack of access/means to controlled environments, its always easier to add water manually than be stuck in the rainy season with downpours and high humidity that you can’t get rid of.
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