Canada’s public breeders have done well with what they’ve been given, but could do much more with greater resources. Our global competitors have modernized their breeding systems, some quarter a century ago. So, Canada is behind in establishing processes to address a serious lack of investment and competition. Increased investment, innovation, collaboration and competition would result from a modernized funding model.
Our current public breeding program is under resourced, with royalties only covering 10-20% of true costs. That makes wheat producers vulnerable.
A second issue is the lack of private breeding investment.
The Wheat Growers want investments in Canada, so the latest ag seed technology can help farmers compete in an increasingly competitive global market. Breeders, whether public or private, small or large, should be encouraged and rewarded for investing to bring new seed technology to Canada.
The Wheat Growers support a royalty system, whether “trailing” or “end point”, that is effective in propping up public programs, attracts private investors, and is administratively efficient. Sharing production risks, and the preservation of a quality assured seed production system, are important considerations. Retaining the ability to use older varieties and farm saved seed is critical and works with either Grains Round Table proposed solution.
Having a national system for all crops should not delay the implementation of a solution for crops as critical to the Canadian economy as wheat and barley.
The Wheat Growers is using consultations to detail out implementation specifics before coming forward with a preferred royalty scheme by 2019 spring seeding.