Seed World

Leontino Taveira on How UPOV Standards Aid Plant Breeders

Aiden Brook, business development manager at Seed World Group, sat down with Leontino Taveira, head of Technical Affairs and Regional Development for UPOV, at the Seed Association of the America (SAA)’s 6th Seed Congress of the Americas. Taveira chats with Brook about UPOV’s standards and how they aid plant breeders.

“UPOV promotes the development of new varieties of plants. We have an intellectual property (IP) system that’s been particularly designed to promote plant breeding in the most efficient way,” explains Taveira. “UPOV has a harmonized and internationally harmonized system that enables breeders to save time and is based on mutual recognition of these harmonized standards.”

What does that mean for not only the private sector, but the public sector?

“It enables the public sector to maximize the output of their breeding programs, partake in public private partnerships and focus on particular producer groups,” he adds.

UPOV’s work is essential due to the massive pool of varieties to choose from. For example, in Mexico, breeders from over 26 countries have brought their varieties into Mexican territory. That means more than 3000 new plant varieties, and 3000 options for farmers to choose from.

Among the great number of varieties, there are also varying legal acts that countries follow. In South America specifically, there are a multitude of countries that function under the UPOV Act of 1978. As the world progresses, what are the benefits for those countries in switching to the UPOV Act of 1991?

“Most countries in the region already incorporates mechanisms from the 1991 Act into the national plant protection laws,” shares Taveira. “Having said that, the 91 Act invites countries to establish a policy to address the issue when farmers are allowed to save seeds of protected varieties. Another difference is the introduction of the concept of essentially derived varieties. So, this is enabling broad based and diverse breeding programs to be encouraged.”