AAFC Seed Royalty Consultation – Charlottetown, Friday January 18

The only AAFC Seed Royalty Consultation event planned for Atlantic Canada is on Friday January 18, 2019 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at the Delta Hotels Prince Edward.  NOTE: It is not necessary to register – the important thing is to have as many farmers there as possible. Bring a friend or two!

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The corporate seed industry has convinced the federal government to take the next step towards a system to make farmers pay seed companies for seed every year even when we use farm-saved seed. They are proposing to change regulations under the UPOV ’91 Plant Breeders Rights Act, and are considering two approaches – End Point Royalties or Trailing Contracts that would apply to new varieties registered after February 2015.

The End Point Royalty approach would require farmers to pay a royalty on their harvested crop (a per bushel royalty) if they grow a newer variety. The Trailing Contract approach would require farmers to ask the seed company for permission to plant seed saved from a previous crop of a newer variety and make farmers pay them a royalty when using farm saved seed. The seed industry likes the Trailing Contract option best because it would bring in more money and would involve setting up a comprehensive data collection system to track farm saved seed users.

The seed industry expects to collect over $100 million of dollars every year from these compulsory payments. This money would go to seed companies such as Bayer, Syngenta, BASF and DowDupont. The system for charging a royalty on crops harvested from farm saved seed would be developed for wheat first, with the intent of applying it to other cereal crops, pulse crops, and other crop kinds later.

The NFU opposes the UPOV ’91 seed law, which Canada enacted in 2015, because it turns farmers’ age-old right to save and use farm saved seed into a privilege that can be taken away by regulation.

The NFU is opposed to End Point Royalties and Trailing Contracts. These are simply ways to increase the monopoly power of seed companies by forcing farmers to pay more for seed, restricting farmers’ right to save seed and making us pay them for seed we grow on our farms.

We call for keeping farmers’ right to save and use our own seed, and for public funding and farmer-controlled check-off funding to support plant breeding. The government must be stopped from bringing in a regulation to take away the “farmers’ privilege” under the Plant Breeders Rights Act.

If you would like to get more involved with the NFU’s campaign to protect the farmer’s right to save and use farm-saved seed, please email nfu@nfu.ca with “Seed Sovereignty” in the subject line.

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