News Release 14 October 2015
Farmer saved seed to be retained
The recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks have created disappointing doomsayer discourse.
Some misinformed commentators have a view that farmers will be stopped from saving some seed from their crops.
NZ Plant Breeding and Research Association (PBRA) President Tom Bruynel says there is no intent at all by the seed
industry to get rid of farmer saved seed.
He says the Association and the Arable Industry Group of Federated Farmers have been jointly saying that the right to
save seed needs to be part of any updated plants legislation and there is agreement in principle that there be a fair
and simple system of royalty collection for seed that has been kept back for sowing.
The TPP requirement for NZ to be compliant with the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of
Plants 1991 (UPOV91) means farmers will still be able to retain seed for sowing for their own private use on their own
farm. On protected varieties the terms of purchase will provide that a small royalty be paid to the seed breeder.
Farmers however will not able to sell or trade that seed to other farmers for planting.
Royalties collected on farm saved seed of protected varieties provides a return for plant breeders and incentivises the
investment in local research and development of new and advanced crop and seed varieties.
PBRA general manager Thomas Chin says when the Government amends the outdated Plant Varieties Rights Act 1987 its
provisions will not force farmers to use seeds from overseas companies.
“Farmers will not be obliged to use any seed they do not want to pay for”.