March 8, 2005
The Canadian Wheat
Board (CWB) believes that farmers' right to save seed for
their own use should be entrenched in federal legislation and
policy without restrictions. In a submission made today to the
Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the CWB is urging that
amendments to the Plant Breeders' Rights Act assure farmers'
interests are protected.
farmers are able to save seed from one crop year to the next,
provided they use it themselves, because the Act does not
prohibit the practice. Under proposed amendments to the Act,
this right could be explicitly incorporated. However, it could
be incorporated with restrictions, including allowing a breeder
to collect royalties on saved seed.
important to reward those who take risks and make investments to
ensure the seed breeding sector remains competitive, it's
imperative that any changes to the Act don't put farmers'
livelihoods at risk," said Ken Ritter, Chair of the CWB's
farmer-controlled board of directors.
amendments could extend plant breeders' rights (PBR) to
harvested material. If protected grain were to be found in CWB
shipments, the CWB could be restricted in its ability to market
the grain or could be held liable to the breeder for any
royalties on that grain. This could affect the competitiveness
of Western Canadian farmers and their success at marketing wheat
and barley around the world.
proposed changes have the potential to negatively affect the
entire western Canadian grain industry," said Ritter. "We are
asking the government that any amendments to the Act ensure that
farmers are the primary beneficiaries of advancements in plant
The CFIA is
considering these changes to bring Canada's legislation into
compliance with the International Union for the Protection of
New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) 1991 convention.
the CWB submission to the CFIA can be found at
Controlled by western Canadian farmers, the CWB
is the largest wheat and barley marketer in the world. As one of
Canada's biggest exporters, the Winnipeg-based company sells
grain to more than 70 countries and returns all sales revenue,
less marketing costs, to Prairie farmers.