Seed World

Global Seed Watch



The Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF) in partnership with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture – Agriculture Development Fund (ADF), the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, and other producer commodity groups, have announced up to $2.7 million to fund 22 new crop-related research projects, a Jan. 11 news release said.

“Since we began this funding partnership with ADF in 2012, WGRF has invested almost $30 million dollars to more than 220 research projects that have undoubtedly improved agricultural systems, technology and agronomic practices for western Canadian farmers,” Keith Degenhardt, WGRF board chair, said in the release.

The release noted WGRF is co-funding 15 projects with ADF and other producer groups. WGRF is also co-funding an additional seven projects exclusively with producer commodity groups. The projects include research into improved varietal resiliency to environmental stresses and disease for wheat, canola, canary seed, pea and barley varieties, as well as research into key agronomic challenges including surveillance and mitigation strategies for diseases such as Fusarium and club root, research into insect population dynamics, and new strategies and inputs to improve crop production.

“WGRF is excited to be supporting these 22 new promising research projects,” Wayne Thompson, WGRF executive director, said in the release. “These projects are being led by some remarkable researchers, not only here in Saskatchewan but across western Canada. ADF provides a great forum for producer groups to collaborate and co-fund in agricultural research.”

A full listing of projects will be posted on the WGRF website once research contracts are in place, the release said.


Soy with a low presence of raffinose and stachyose sugars, created in Brazil in 2022, was also classified as non-GMO by the Colombian government. By developing this variety, breeders could spend less on fattening, and the animals will gain weight faster.

GDM obtained the classification of the first edited soy in Brazil last year. To create this variety, a native gene was altered to reduce 75 per cent of raffinose and 50 per cent of stachyose in the seeds. These sugars are indigestible by monogastric animals such as poultry, pigs, and humans.

“The company continues to produce larger volumes of seeds of this variety for final validations before the commercial launch,” says André Beló, manager of New Improvement Techniques at GDM.


Kenya is the first country in Africa to introduce and adopt e- electronic phytosanitary certification (ephyto). Many other nations in the continent are visiting the country to benchmark and is likely to increase the quality of trade with the European market that fits well in the ongoing agriculture digitalization programme.

Speaking during the e-certification milestone celebrations, Principal Secretary (PS), State department for Crop and Development, in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Kellow Harsama expressed optimism that the shift was instrumental in shaping a more inclusive digital transformation in all business processes in agriculture and trade.

The COVID-19 pandemic, he added, had affected every organization around the world, necessitating changes in their strategies to embrace digitalization of their operation to cope with the life threatening situation.

“We are aware that digitalization is a key factor to bolster investment and innovative development for both our countries,” he said.

Harsama noted that technology enhanced security by reducing risks associated with cyber-attacks which can disrupt business operations.

The PS added that the development of electronic certification standard and creation of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) ePhyto Hub serves as a platform for exchange of electronic phytosanitary certificates (ePhyto) among trading partners where over 70 countries have successfully implemented paperless certification and this he added is indeed an achievement worth celebrating.

Source: Kenya News


Plant breeders have welcomed the passing of legislation that gives them stronger protection for intellectual property rights to new varieties.

The Plant Variety Rights Bill was passed by Parliament in December 2022 and replaces legislation first designed in 1987.

Plant Breeding and Research Association general manager Thomas Chin said that, after many years of lobbying, domestic plant laws had been finally brought into line with the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 91) convention.

“Plant breeders are looking to take up the benefits under UPOV 91 as soon as possible, as it gives rights’ holders strengthened protections to safeguard their intellectual property,” he said.

“For New Zealand growers, access is opened to a greater range of new varieties which may assist their competitive position in world agricultural markets.”

A significant area of reform clarified the use of farm-saved seed and regulations that enabled breeders to obtain royalties from farmers who saved and replanted seed of protected varieties.

Farmers using non-proprietary varieties will not incur royalty payments.

“Additional funding for breeding programmes from royalties would help incentivise the development of new and improved pasture and arable genetics for farmers and crop end users,” he said.

Chin said breeding new varieties with improved traits such as increased yields, more nutritional quality, or better resistance to disease and pests required substantial investment and it could take up to 10 years to develop a new variety for commercial release.

Plant breeders were continuing talks with farmer representatives and government officials to design a royalty administration and collection system, he said.

Source: Otago Daily News/Rural Life