Government and farmer-funded plant breeding has benefited Canadian farmers greatly, the Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association (MWBGA) says in the preamble to its principles on seed value creation.
“The MWBGA emphasizes many critical questions remain unanswered concerning which value creation model proposed by AAFC/CFIA (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada/Canadian Food Inspection Agency) best serves Manitoba spring wheat and barley farmers,” the association’s document says.
The seed industry proposes two models — trailing and end point royalties. The MWBGA wants more details about, and an economic analysis of, them, and of any other models that come out of the consultation process.
These are the MWBGA’s five principles on farmers contributing more to fund cereal variety:
- AAFC must continue its role in variety development, from upstream research to finishing of varieties. MWBGA emphasizes our continued support for public plant breeding and the continued role of AAFC in variety development as we strongly believe a healthy, public breeding program provides producers an option to privately owned breeding programs.
- Royalty revenue generated cannot replace or erode federal or provincial funding for public plant-breeding programs, but instead add/increase government financial support. MWBGA expects government to be partners in supporting public plant-breeding initiatives at the current or higher rates of financial investment.
- Royalty revenue must support public breeding programs by directly returning collected royalties to the breeding programs and not into general revenue of government. Royalty revenue must directly contribute to public breeding programs to ensure adequate resources are available to breed and finish varieties that meet the merit requirements (disease, agronomic and quality) of the variety registration system.
- If MWBGA continues to be a funder of variety development in partnership with AAFC or other partners (public or private), total royalty collected and distribution of royalties must be reported to ensure transparency and to determine effectiveness of royalty collection in creating value. MWBGA desires a value creation mechanism that allows for a return on investment for producers’ dollars invested in variety development while allowing for accountability, transparency and a voice in directing variety development. For the MWBGA to clearly communicate progress and success in funding variety development, and provide accountability to our membership, it will be critical that metrics are defined that would be used to measure progress and success, i.e. increased yield of new varieties, number of registered varieties, or number of acres grown to new varieties.
- Any value creation model or mechanism must protect the producer’s right to save their own seed.