Alberta Wheat Commission Supports Modernization of Plant Breeders’ Rights
(Calgary, Alberta) – The Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC) supports the modernization of Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) legislation in Canada, as well as the Government of Canada’s commitment to ratify the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants convention (UPOV 91).
Today, the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) announced that the Agricultural Growth Act had been introduced in the House of Commons. Among the changes being proposed in this bill are amendments to the PBR Act.
"AWC believes that these amendments announced by AAFC as part of the Agricultural Growth Act will encourage more investments in domestic plant breeding research and provide Canada with access to continually improved varieties," says Kent Erickson, Chair of the AWC. "It is important that Canada remains aligned with international standards to ensure that we are globally competitive."
It is critical these recent amendments to the PBR Act have grower support for this major change in the business model around genetic research. AAFC has indicated that the amendments are consistent with the Government’s commitment to support innovation and farmers’ accessibility to new and innovative varieties that could enhance crop yield, improve disease and drought resistance, and meet specific global demand.
AWC provided AAFC a letter of support for the modernization of PBR in Canada with the following conditions: Ability to use farm-saved seed must be a part of any changes related to the ratification of UPOV 91, the current level of federal Government funding of pre-breeding genetic research is maintained, and there is recognition and accommodation for a farmer/public equity stake in Canada’s proprietary cereal’s germplasm, which has been developed over the past 100 years and funded by producer and tax payers dollars.
"AWC appreciates that the Government has made it a priority to work to modify legislation to comply with UPOV 91, and we look forward to working with AAFC to improve Alberta’s wheat producers’ international competitiveness through access to innovative traits and varieties," adds Erickson.
For more information please contact:
P. (403) 219-7902 C. (587) 777-6344
The Alberta Wheat Commission is a producer-directed organization representing the interests of and serving as a single voice for all of Alberta’s 11,000 wheat producers.