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Seed industry applauds PBR consultations

Sessions will be held in four cities — including Winnipeg — with seed growers and other groups

Agriculture Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will be consulting with seed trade groups in the coming weeks on proposed Plant Breeders’ Rights Regulations released in April.

Those sessions in Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Ottawa will be followed up with sessions in November that will include the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Grain Growers of Canada and other farm organizations.

“This consultation includes value creation in cereals which explores increasing the investment in research and innovation that is necessary to position Canada as a leader in variety development,” said the Seed Synergy Partners group. It consists of the Canadian Plant Technology Agency, the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA), the Canadian Seed Institute, the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA), the Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada and CropLife Canada.

“Everyone recognizes the need to invest in innovation in order to deliver new varieties,” said CSTA president Todd Hyra. “In order to attract and retain the best plant breeders, Canada needs a system that compensates them for their efforts. Changes to the existing system will ensure lasting investment in variety development in Canada for Canada, allowing us to compete more effectively on a global scale.”

“Seed growers recognize that any changes to the system intended to generate additional funds for plant breeding in Canada must benefit breeders and generate value for producers of all crop kinds by building on the strengths of the current pedigreed seed system,” said CSGA president Jonathan Nyborg.

“We believe that additional support for Canadian plant breeders will lead to increased access to innovative varieties for seed growers and for our customers, and that it is essential for Canadian agriculture to thrive and continue to contribute to the well-being of Canadians,” he said.

Seed Synergy partners and member companies support a consultation process “that would bring about an effective value creation system in cereals for Canadians,” the group said in a statement. “This system would allow Canada to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving national and international marketplace and benefit cereal-breeding programs for private and public companies of all sizes across Canada. As it stands, public and private breeding programs are unable to recover the full cost of variety development.”

The proposed Plant Breeders’ Rights Regulations would improve accessibility to the intellectual property framework, support a self-sustaining funding model for program delivery, and encourage greater investment and innovation in Canada’s agriculture, horticulture, and ornamental sectors, the group said.

Plant Breeders’ Rights are a form of intellectual property rights by which plant breeders can protect their new varieties in the same way an inventor protects a new invention with a patent, the group said.

“The legislative framework is designed to encourage increased investment in plant breeding in Canada and foster greater accessibility to foreign seed varieties for farmers,” it said. “Modernizing Canada’s plant variety intellectual property regime is a key element in growing and diversifying Canada’s trade of agricultural commodities, both domestically and for export markets internationally.

“The Seed Synergy Collaboration Project acknowledges that the current model of the seed sector must adapt to change and seize emerging opportunities. Canada needs a strong vision for the future, and practical reforms now, to position producers, innovators and ultimately the entire agricultural value chain to succeed in a highly competitive and innovation-based global marketplace.

“The Seed Synergy partners look forward to working with allied groups and the federal government throughout the consultation process to bring about an effective value creation system in cereals.”

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