While there’s a lot of work to be done, the ISF committees are getting down and dirty to find solutions for the seed industry.
Communicating, engaging and changing is just a taste of what the International Seed Federation (ISF) is working to achieve this year. They’re also rolling up their sleeves to work on many other aspects of the seed industry that will help them get closer to their vision of “a world where the best quality seed is accessible to all, supporting sustainable agriculture and food security.”
The priorities of the Vegetable and Ornamental Section are fully aligned with the strategic objectives of ISF and support some of the other committees’ work.
According to Vicente Navarro, senior vice president of Crop Strategy & Marketing, Vegetable Seeds of BASF and chair of the ISF Vegetables and Ornamentals section, there are three priorities for their committee: facilitating the global movement of seeds, preventing intellectual property (IP) infringement, and engaging with society.
“The vegetable seed sector is greatly exposed to market access problems, including phytosanitary issues, due to its nature — with more than 50 different crops produced in countries other than where treatment, packing and sales take place,” Navarro says. “Facilitating the free movement of seeds is probably one of the most difficult things that we are facing, especially when the enacted non-tariff measures are not science-based, but serve as a form of market protection.
Navarro says that the systems approach is another project in which the section provides frequent inputs. “A globally accepted systems approach for seed is an opportunity for NPPOs and industry to collaborate to develop a more efficient, predictable and secure framework to facilitate the international movement of healthy seed.”
Next, there are several projects under the protection of IP rights for the Vegetable and Ornamental section.
“Although IP rights are territorial in nature, most of the countries are signatories of the UPOV Convention therefore the PVP systems are more or less harmonized,” Navarro says. “Emphasis must be placed on the enforcement part. The vegetable seed sector wants to raise more awareness on IP infringement therefore we developed a guideline of good practices on how to protect IP rights more efficiently.”
Finally, Navarro says engagement is key for their working group.
“If we are not capable of getting our business model accepted by society, then people will be negative towards our industry regardless of the value we are creating,” he says. “It’s really important for us to step up and engage with a broader audience, because if we don’t uphold our license to operate, then who will?”