b'THIRD QUARTER 1974-1999: RAPID DEVELOPMENT OF PLANT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGYRapid scientific developments, initially at the pure science levels but soon with promising applications in plant breeding, were achieved in ISFs third phase. Cell, developmental, and eventually molecular biology entered the realm of plant breeding, building on tissue culture techniques initiated in the 1960s. Genetic transformation provided broad new horizons. Suddenly, the promise of healthy returns on investment and particu-larly the expectation of scale advantages in the biotechnologies attracted the interest of hitherto unknown players. Oil and pharma-ceutical companies, followed by agrochemi-cal producers, started to take over significant (L-R) Representatives from ISF, OECD Seed Schemes, FAO, ISTA and UPOV joining hands numbers of family-based breeders and seed in the World Seed Project. producers. Eventually, another application of molecular biologymarker assisted selec-tionfound application in a much wider EVOLUTION OF INTERNATIONAL SEED TRADE range of crops and breeding companies.35000 During the same period, global seed trade expanded from US$ 860M in 1970 to US$ 3600M in 1998 due to improved poli-30000 cies (World Trade Organisation, 1994) and expanding information and communication 25000 technologies. (This growth path continues).Both trends affected the structure of Million USDthe sector. The corporations brought in a 20000 more global perspective to crops beyond the forages and vegetable seeds that had domi-15000 nated the international seed trade until that point. Also, patents, which entered the seed business in the mid-1980s following some 10000 court decisions in the U.S. and subsequently adopted with regional variations in other jurisdictions, further strengthened corpo-5000 rate interest. The resulting structure of the sector, 0 which now included corporations, cooper-1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 atives and a wide diversity of family-owned Year companies, also affected the national/Source: International Seed Federation (ISF) - www.worldseed.org international associations including FIS. Internationally operating companies were increasingly able to provide the FIS secre-Also important for the internationala specialsui generissystem needed totariat with knowledge and support. This, seed trade were the Seed Schemes forbe developed for varieties in line with thehowever, at the same time generated ques-varietal certification of seed quality estab- biological nature of breeding as a cumula- tions about how to properly represent the lished by the Organisation for Europeantive innovation system and existing realitieswhole seed sector in all its diversity. The Economic Cooperation OEEC in 1958in agriculture. In 1961, this finally led toinput of the national associations is essential and taken over by the Organisation forthe establishment of UPOV and its inter- to provide that global view, and thus legit-Economic Cooperation and Developmentnational rules for the protection of plantimacy to FIS and later ISF in its dealings (OECD) when it was established in 1961.breeders rights. with the global policy makers.The Schemes promote the productionThrough positioning the seed sector inObviously, the roles acquired during and use of certified seed through harmo- these international developments and har- the two earlier phases of FIS/ISFs genesis nised procedures for eight crop groups.monizing rules and standards in OECD,and development continued to be impor-Standardized procedures and seed bag labelUPOV and IPPC, FIS and ASSINSELtant in the third quarter of its history. designs provide, next to the ISTA Rules,also contributed to the professionalisationPriorities included updating the Trade and a solid basis for international seed trade.of the seed sector itself. ISF joined forcesArbitration Rules and representing the In later years, OECD also invited FIS towith FAO, ISTA, OECD and UPOV insector in intergovernmental organisations, policy discussions about genetically mod- 1999 in the World Seed Conference, whichof which the number continued to increase, ified crops. led 10 years later to the World Seed Projectwith particular emphasis on the Convention The work of ASSINSEL resulteddeveloping into a public-private Partnershipon Biological Diversity (1992) and its in a conclusion that existing intellectualto institutionalise formal seed institutionsCartagena Protocol on Biosafety (2000), property systems would not work and thatin a growing number of countries. and the World Trade Organisation (1995). 16ISEED WORLD EUROPEISEEDWORLD.COM/EUROPE'