VOLUME 5 ISSUE 2 – PROTECTING YOUR ASSETS – INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND BEYOND
Plant breeders on average spend between 12 to 15% of their turnover back into research and development, which is higher than most other industry sectors. And give or take a few years, plant breeders need between 8 and 12 years to create a new plant variety, without knowing what consumers will desire in 8-12 years from now. It's easy to imagine that a plant breeders' research and investments are considerable, upfront and also high risk. Several research papers have shown that plant breeding is providing enormous benefits into the agricultural chain, and in society. So, it is only fair for the plant breeding sector to ask for something in return, to keep this engine of innovation going, and this return on investment is often guaranteed by intellectual property rights, such as plant breeders' rights and patents. Recent innovations have made it easier for plant breeders to file for plant breeders' rights, leading to more applications in more countries, to the benefit of society. With the massive changes happening in the seed sector, we have put together a list of 20 movers and shakers who have been highly influential to the European seed sector in 2017, with each one of these incredible people having had a significant effect on the sector in the past year(s). We very much welcome and look forward to your feedback as to who you think should have been on the list or appear on next year's list, and why.
VOLUME 5 ISSUE 1 – PLANT BREEDING INNOVATION – BRINGING SCIENCE BACK TO THE FOREFRONT
Science and progress in plant breeding are moving so rapidly that we wonder if producers - as well as consumers, and especially regulators - will be able to understand and embrace the changes. Misunderstanding the latest breeding methods will lead to a delay in acceptance and use, and with that, Europe will lose many wonderful opportunities to help humankind bring the much-needed improved varieties to the farmers, and eventually to the consumers. However, looking at the rapid progress, there is very little time to bring decision makers and the general audience up to speed and explain how plant breeding benefits multiple stakeholders and society as a whole. Going forward, it will be crucial to show how plant breeding helps to meet consumer expectations, to find natural solutions to meet the food demand, and how plant breeding supports resource efficient farming by safeguarding yields and reducing losses in the field.
VOLUME 4 ISSUE 4 – CROP PROTECTION – WHY EUROPE HAS THE SAFEST FOOD IN THE WORLD
Our food and feed crops are under a daily and relentless attack from pests and diseases. Already millennia ago, mankind has learned that with certain compounds the pathogens can be kept at bay. But crop protection products have come under heavy criticism lately. Find out if and why crop protection is necessary and the reasons behind the fact that Europe has the safest food in the world.
VOLUME 4 ISSUE 3 – TESTING – CRUCIAL FOR THE SURVIVAL OF ANY SEED COMPANY
Throughout the seed value chain, there is a lot of testing going on. There is testing for seed quality, germination, variety identity and purity, pests and diseases, for distinctness, uniformity and stability and other forms of testing. And we’re not only testing the seeds, but also soil and other parameters. This issue explores why we test. Does the variety live up to the standards that we have collectively agreed upon, standards the farmer and grower expect to find in the seed bag? Variety testing provides validation that the whole seed value chain meets user needs. Such procedures also contribute to further improving the quality of the product. Ultimately, testing is required to stay in the business.
VOLUME 4 ISSUE 2 – BREXIT – WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR THE SEED INDUSTRY?
With the UK leaving the EU, the time has come to find out what will happen to agriculture and how this break up will affect the seed sector. It is clear that basically all plant varieties – which are currently being sold in the UK – are enjoying Europe-wide plant breeders’ rights (PBR) as issued by the CPVO. The departure of the UK may result in the sudden loss of intellectual property rights for all these varieties, with potentially disastrous consequences. Not knowing what will happen with this and other seed and agriculture related issues has already started to affect investment decisions as seed companies are now filing for separate UK PBR on top of their EU PBR to ensure the fruits of their investments will receive adequate protection. Having clear legal frameworks and harmonisation between those various legal frameworks is now, more than ever, a clear goal, regardless of a countries political affiliations.