Wheat Growers Support Move to Modernize Seed Regulations
CALGARY, AB: The Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association supports today’s announcement by the federal government that it intends to modernize Canada’s seed regulations by ratifying the 1991 international convention governing the sale and use of new plant varieties. The move is expected to encourage more international breeders to develop new seed varieties for the Canadian market.
Canada is a member of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) and has currently ratified its 1978 convention. Canada is one of only nine OECD countries which has not yet modernized its plant breeder’s protection to be compliant with the 1991 convention.
“Ratifying the 1991 convention will help us attract more investment in plant breeding,” says Levi Wood, President of the Wheat Growers. “It will encourage more breeders to develop new varieties of wheat and other crops specifically designed for the Canadian market.”
Australia, European Union, Russia, United States and the Ukraine are among Canada’s major wheat export competitors who have ratified the 1991 convention.
“Ratifying this convention will allow us to remain competitive with wheat producers elsewhere in the world,” says Wood. “It will give us better access to a wider range of genetics.”
A key provision of the 1991 convention is that it expressly allows for the continuation of farm-saved seed. This will allow Canada to maintain the right of farmers to plant seeds from grain grown on their own farm. The law prohibiting the sale of seed of a protected variety by farmers or seed cleaners without the permission of the breeder will continue.
“Adoption of the 1991 convention will encourage more plant breeding without sacrificing the right of farmers to save our own seed,” says Wood. “It will help ensure wheat remains a profitable crop option for prairie farmers.”
About the Wheat Growers:
Founded in 1970, the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association is a voluntary farmer-run advocacy organization dedicated to developing public policy solutions that strengthen the profitability and sustainability of farming, and the agricultural industry as a whole. For more information, please visit wheatgrowers.ca.