The International Association for Horticultural Producers has welcomed a new bill passed in Canada which strengthens breeders' intellectual property rights and has called on other countries to adopt similar measures.
The Agricultural Growth Act, passed on 9 December, gives growers from the horticultural and agricultural sectors, increased access to new crop varieties and helps them enhance trade opportunities and reduce red tape, the association says.
Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said: "Our government is committed to supporting Canada's farmers and our world-class agriculture industry so they can remain competitive in world markets. Armed with the latest science, tools and practices, our agriculture sector will continue to be an important driver of Canada's economy."
Among the key changes being proposed in this bill are amendments to the Plant Breeders' Rights Act (PBR Act) to align with the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV Convention 1991) which would update Canada's legislation from the now outdated framework of the UPOV Convention 1978.
AIPH which represents horticultural producers' organizations all over the world, has said it applauds Canada's introduction of the Agricultural Growth Act and encourages other countries to accelerate the implementation of plant breeder’s rights and to bring their legislation in line with the UPOV-Convention 1991.
Chairman of the AIPH Novelty Protection Committee, Bernard Oosterom, said: "AIPH supports a strong and balanced plant breeders rights (PBR) framework, the rights of breeders to act against infringement of their rights and the rights of growers who legally use protected varieties.
"From this perspective AIPH fully endorses the UPOV plant variety rights system and is of the opinion that it plays a very positive role in the development of the agricultural and horticultural sector, and the relationship between breeders, farmers and growers. Both sectors will benefit from the new bill.
AIPH believes that strengthening intellectual property rights for plant breeding in Canada will encourage investment in Canadian research and development. This will give Canadian breeders, farmers and growers more access to new and innovative plant varieties, which could enhance crop yield, improve disease and drought resistance, and meet global trade demands.