Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Around the World

Discover seed industry happenings from the perspective of regional seed associations

Seed Association of the Americas
To help address intellectual property concerns, the Seed Association of the America’s IP Working Group drafted goals and an action plan during its May meeting. SAA encourages all member countries to adopt UPOV 91 because it’s one of the best protection systems for IP.

SAA Secretary General Diego Risso also reports that the Phytosanitary Working Group strives to speed up the pest risk analysis process, as that’s a major bottleneck and can take anywhere from months to several years to complete. “SAA is unique in its ability to work with governments and relies heavily on a strategic network that it formed among regulators and seed industry professionals,” Risso says.

jun14_aroundworld_1

African Seed Trade Association
“AFSTA is poised to play a significant role in the transformation of the economies of this continent,” says AFSTA Secretary General Justin Rakotoarisaona, noting that it must be sensitive to African realities. “Recent troubles in Southern Sudan, continued conflict in Central Africa and renewed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are major impediments to growth. We continue to urge our political leaders and the African Union to seek peaceful solutions.”

jun14_aroundworld_2

European Seed Association
“They [politicians and NGOs] see Europe’s future in local, bio-diverse and preferably organic farming,” says Garlich von Essen, ESA secretary general. “What they tend to disregard or deliberately ignore is how dependent Europe is already on large scale imports and that these tend to come from professional high-tech farming, including from GMOs.” Together with numerous EU agri-food chain operators, the seed industry has repeatedly called upon the EU institutions to provide legal certainty for the industries concerned and give up on its unrealistic ‘zero tolerance’ approach, von Essen says.

jun14_aroundworld_4

Asia-Pacific Seed Association
This year APSA is celebrating its 20th anniversary, which will be the theme not only for the association throughout the year, but also of the Asian Seed Congress. The congress will be jointly hosted by APSA and the Hong Kong Seed Trade Association at the Venetian Macau, in Macau, China Nov. 10-14, 2014. To celebrate the anniversary, the association will relaunch its official publication, Asian Seed, with a new design, says Tom Burns, APSA director. Simultaneously, the organization will unveil a revamped website with greater access and ease of use for members and congress attendees.

jun14_aroundworld_3

SAA Spearheads Priority Working Groups
Members of the Seed Association of the Americas met the first week of May in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to address four priority issues — biotechnology, intellectual property, seed treatment and phytosanitary matters.

To better address the priority areas, SAA formed four working groups. “We are working to strengthen each of these groups and increasing communication within for improved preparedness,” says Diego Risso, SAA secretary general. “SAA connects with all the regulators in the Americas and is the primary forum for those in the seed industry to address their concerns.”

Regarding biotechnology, SAA members had proactive discussions in order to update their low-level presence position paper. Risso reports that the SAA team is working closely with the Southern Agricultural Council and the North American Biotech Initiative to address LLP issues. Risso says the working group is learning about each country’s adoption level of new breeding techniques and how regulations are proposed.

“One of our biggest concerns is that seed treatment might become a trade barrier,” says Jerry Monk, SAA president. “To address this, we are developing two databases, one to address frequently asked questions and the other to serve as a reference of all the seed applied products.”

To help address IP concerns, the working group drafted goals and an action plan during its May meeting. SAA also encourages all member countries to adopt UPOV 91 because it’s one of the best protection systems for IP.

In addition, Risso reports that the phytosanitary working group strives to speed up the pest risk analysis process, as that’s a major bottleneck and can take anywhere from months to several years to complete.

“We continue to improve our communications with national regulators and strive to bring all parties around the table to develop solutions to trade barriers,” Risso says. “SAA is unique in its ability to work with governments and relies heavily on a strategic network that it formed among regulators and seed industry professionals. If you or your company wants to get involved in working to find solutions to these challenges, we welcome your participation. All you need to do is be a member of your national seed association and ask to join the SAA discussions. The more participation we have, the better off the seed industry will be.”

Uncertainty Looms for Europe’s New Seed Laws
For the past year, European Union Member States and the European Parliament have been discussing an overhaul of the common legislation on seed marketing, plant health and official controls as part of a wider package intended to further harmonize and modernize EU policies across the food chain.

“This is playing to the latent anti-Americanism of some groups ... There are groups that don’t see open markets and free competition as valuable,
but rather as threats.”
— Garlich von Essen

While things progressed as expected for most parts of the legislative package, variety registration and seed marketing rules sparked opposition from non-governmental organizations. In March 2014, Members of the European Parliament  rejected the proposal and called upon the Commission to present new text to the new Parliament, which will be elected at the end of May.

“This rejection is proof of just how political, rather than technical, the debate around seed became during the course of this campaign,” says Garlich von Essen, European Seed Association secretary general.

Von Essen also senses a strong discord between what the professional seed and farming sectors expect of the seed law and what politicians and NGOs consider instrumental in changing the EU’s agricultural policy.

“Where seed companies and farmers explained the importance of quality and performance and certified seed health for an internationally competitive agriculture in Europe, many were opposed,” von Essen says. “They see Europe’s future in local, bio-diverse and preferably organic farming. What they tend to disregard or deliberately ignore is how dependent Europe is already on large scale imports and that these tend to come from professional high-tech farming, including from GMOs.”

While the fate of the new seed law hangs in the balance, Europe seems to be in for much of the same in regards to its approach to biotechnology and genetic modification. In fact, it seems the block is set to agree that in the future individual EU Member States, rather than the EU, will make decisions on authorizations, von Essen says. Such a transfer of competence back to the country level might complicate the situation of exporting countries and companies even further as political majorities, and with that regulatory requirements, will not only be different but might change frequently.

Together with numerous EU agri-food chain operators, the seed industry has repeatedly called upon the EU institutions to provide legal certainty for the industries concerned and give up on its unrealistic ‘zero tolerance’ approach, von Essen says.

The Transatlantic Investment and Partnership Agreement (TTIP) currently under discussion between the U.S. and the EU, was seen to provide an appropriate forum to discuss how to possibly work with agreed standard testing protocols or a mutual recognition of standards by the two parties.

But this again is meeting strong and well-orchestrated opposition from groups that claim a ‘lowering’ of standards to an U.S.-like level is unacceptable. “This is playing to the latent anti-Americanism of some groups as well as capitalizing on the recent NSA spy-gate affair,” von Essen says. “There are groups that don’t see open markets and free competition as valuable but rather as threats.”

Still, the EU and U.S. seed industries have addressed negotiators with a joint set of proposals for a successful TTIP. After a meeting in Washington, D.C., in early 2014, a follow-up with the EU administration is planned for later this year.

Additionally upcoming discussions for the EU seed industry concern the revision of rules for organic farming, including the rules for use of organic seed, and the practical implementation of new obligations under the so-called Nagoya Protocol of the Convention on Biological Diversity where the EU has been amongst the first to set new requirements. “There won’t be a shortage of new challenges — and we still have some old left,” von Essen says.

African Seed Trade Association
The African Seed Trade Association hosted its annual congress March 4-7 in Tunis, Tunisia. In its 14th year, AFSTA represents the interests of the African seed industry, provides a forum for interaction and information exchange among key stakeholder groups and promotes the development of the seed industry in Africa.

The 2014 Congress was the biggest yet and comprised 303 delegates from companies, national associations, governments and partner organizations representing 48 countries, reports Justin Rakotoarisaona, AFSTA secretary general. “AFSTA is poised to play a significant role in the transformation of the economies of this continent,” he says, noting that it must be sensitive to African realities. “The potential for agriculture to drive inclusive economic growth, improve food security and create opportunities for millions of Africans is enormous.”

However, Rakotoarisaona says political stability remains AFSTA’s biggest challenge. “Regional conflicts continue to hurt our business,” he says. “Recent troubles in Southern Sudan, continued conflict in Central Africa and renewed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are major impediments to growth. We continue to urge our political leaders and the African Union to seek peaceful solutions so that our people can live up to their economic potential.”

The congress was preceded by a half-day workshop on international systems to develop an enabling environment to provide food security and economic development by strengthening the seed sector. The workshop was hosted by the International Seed Testing Association, the Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Rakotoarisaona explains that during the past year, AFSTA created two special interest groups, one for field crops and one for vegetables, to give focus to the development of strategies for unlocking this latent potential in those two sub sectors. Also, an aflatoxin project has been launched in the east African region to help mitigate aflatoxins in crops.

Additionally, the newly formed Seed Trade Association of Ghana began holding meetings in April with the goal of enhancing trade in quality genuine seeds.

Starting next year, AFSTA plans to publish its first annual magazine highlighting seed industry issues in Africa. And last, the 2015 Congress will be held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, March 3-5.

Asian Pacific Seed Association
This year APSA is celebrating its 20th anniversary. In doing so, the organization will relaunch its official publication, Asian Seed, with a new design, says Tom Burns, APSA director. Simultaneously, the organization will unveil a revamped website with greater access and ease of use for members and congress attendees.

Additionally, Burns says APSA members have several important events to look forward to. A few of these events include an APSA-Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) workshop on hybrid rice in Bangkok, which will be held in July; a study tour to New Zealand later in the year; and the Asian Seed Congress, which will be held Nov. 10-14 in Macau, China.

Julie Deering

 

sotw_likethisstory14



Banner
Banner
Banner
Banner

 
Banner
Banner

Subscribe to Seed World

The magazine that brought you in-depth coverage of the seed industry for over 90 years is enhanced through new connections and strong ties to the seed industry and new ways of presenting information. 

We deliver hard-hitting editorial relevant to your business.

YES, I'm interested in subscribing to Seed World magazine.

Advertise

 

© Copyright 2010, Seed World

Subscribe to Seed World

The magazine that brought you in-depth coverage of the seed industry for over 90 years is enhanced through new connections and strong ties to the seed industry and new ways of presenting information. 

We deliver hard-hitting editorial relevant to your business. Subscribe now.

Contact

Seed World
1395-A S. Columbia Road
PO Box 360
Grand Forks, ND 58201
United States of America
e-mail: issues@issuesink.com

Login Form

new balance chaussure pas cher 2014

new balance 996 pas cher france

new balance pas cher 2015

new balance 574 pas cher france

femme new balance chaussure pas cher

homme new balance chaussure france

new balance chaussure pas cher france

new balance paypal france

new balance ebay france

new balance shop france