b"REGULATORYKEEPING YOU INFORMED OF LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY CHANGES IN EUROPE AND ABROAD FROM LAWSUITS TO APPROVALS TO OTHER REGULATORY ISSUES AFFECTING YOUR BUSINESS.NATIONALINTERNATIONALEU PARLIAMENT CALLS FOR THE PATENTING BAN ON PLANTSKENYA CLOSER TO GIVING LONG-AWAITED GMO COTTON A FROM CROSSING AND SELECTION TO BE LEGALLY ANCHORED GREEN LIGHTThe Federal Association of German Plant Breeders e. V. (BDP)Kenya is closing in on commercialising Bt cotton, a high-yield-welcomes the resolution adopted by the EU Parliament on 19ing, genetically modified cotton varieties resistant to the noto-September 2019 on the prohibition of patenting of plants fromrious ball worm pests.crossing and selection. The EU Parliament clearly supports theThe crop has undergone two successful seasons of national BDP's demand to exempt plants from crossing and selection fromtrials to determine which varieties are suitable for which ecological patentability. This is an important signal and must be heard byzones. The outcome has been impressive, biotech researchers say.the EU Commission and the European Patent Office, explainsDr Charles Waturu, the principal researcher on Bt cotton BDP Managing Director Dr. Ing. Carl Stephan Shepherd. at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation In December 2018, the Technical Board of Appeal of the(Kalro), told the Nation that the new crop can yield more than European Patent Office (EPO) undermined the patenting bantwice the conventional hybrid counterpart.on hybridization and selection of plants, which was introduced In Mwea, we harvested 6,000 kilos of Bt cotton per acre in mid-2017 by the Administrative Council of the EPO followingagainst 2,000 kilos for the conventional varieties, he explained.clarification by the European Commission. Legal certainty onWith the trial results now out, researchers are finalising a this point must be established immediately. Only in this way canreport for the Cabinet in a move that could allow the lifting of the necessary balance between variety and patent protection bethe ban on imports of genetically modified organisms (GMO) maintained in plant breeding, demands Schfer. and farming of the crop.Plant variety protection is the primary protection right inThe Health ministry banned GMOs in 2012 over safety con-plant breeding and enables companies to continue to breed withcerns, riding on the now discredited Gilles-Eric Seralini publi-the varieties of their competitors and bring new varieties emerg- cation that linked genetically modified foods to cancer. But the ing from it to the market. This is comparable to an open sourceministry has stated that the ban will be lifted on a case-by-case system and stimulates the complex research and developmentbasis. When Kenya adopts Bt cotton it will join the likes of South work of the industry. The patent right, on the other hand, is to beAfrica, Sudan, Swaziland, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Malawi, among applied as a stronger right of protection to technical inventions. other African countries that have approved commercialisation of biotech crops.EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: NO PATENTS ON NATURALLY OBTAINED PLANTS AND SEEDS ZIMBABWE SOWS FIRST SEEDS FOR HEMP, CANNABIS New non-legislative resolution: The members of the EuropeanPRODUCTIONParliament (MEP) agreed that fruit, vegetables or animalsAfter long regulatory delays, Zimbabwe has now begun cultiva-obtained from conventional breeding processes should not betion of hemp and cannabis, with high hopes to add a new export patentable. into its pot of traditional cash crops.Patent-free access to biological plant material is essen- In 2018, Zimbabwe announced it would allow the cultivation tial to boost innovation and competitiveness of the Europeanof cannabis for medicinal purposes, and further amendments to plant-breeding and farming sectors, to develop new varieties,the law this September legalised the growing of industrial hemp, improve food security and tackle climate change, MEPs stressedwhich is used in the manufacture of fibres.in the resolution. Furthermore, access to genetic resources mustOn Oct 18, overcoming bureaucracy and the suspicion that not be restricted, as this could lead to a situation where a fewhas long-delayed investment, the Zimbabwe Industrial Hemp multinational companies have a monopoly on plant breedingTrust (ZIHT) sowed six varieties of industrial cannabis, the material, to the detriment of EU farmers and consumers, manycountrys first authorised hemp crop. Industrial hemp is a variety MEPs said in the plenary debate. of cannabis that is grown for industrial uses in textiles, paper, The non-legislative resolution the Parliament adopted onrope and edible seeds.Thursday comes ahead of the 1 October deadline for submit- ZIHT founder, dentist Zorodzai Maroveke, says she discov-ting statements on the patentability of naturally obtained plantsered the opportunity when she bought a dress made from hemp to the final appellate instance in the European Patent Officefabric while studying in China. She has lobbied for years to have (EPO). The final judgement will come from the EPOs Enlargedthe production of cannabis and industrial hemp legalised, which Board of Appeal. meant having to convince government officials to overcome their own prejudices.40IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM"