Building the framework for better seed choice
Our team in Myanmar recently ran a webinar with the Department of Agricultural Research (DAR). The aim was to raise local awareness of the Plant Variety Protection (PVP*) system.
Among the participants was the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). Representing the East Asia Plant Variety Protection Forum (EAPVP) were Vietnam and Malaysia, joined by the Netherlands.
In 2019, the DAR and our Foundation agreed on three-year research collaboration. Its objective is to give Myanmar’s smallholders better access to good seeds. “Key interventions include support in implementing seed-related policies”, says our local Seeds2B Program Manager, Ye Pyae Kyaw. “That’s why we are promoting activities relating to PVP.” Among the aspects in focus are licensing publicly bred varieties to local seed companies, capability-building of public sector staff, and a general raising of PVP awareness among relevant stakeholders.
The recent webinar provided a good opportunity for discussion of this important topic. “Plant Breeder Rights are like a kind of intellectual property”, Ye Pyae explains. “A strong PVP system attracts more investment in the seed sector and makes it easier to do sustainable business. But PVP is really just beginning in Myanmar. There is still a lot of work to do in raising awareness.”
Participants discussed current PVP challenges and opportunities and shared model procedures in Vietnam and Malaysia. They also discussed the basic principles of the UPOV Convention and the benefits of UPOV membership for agri-sector development.
“This was the second workshop on Plant Variety Protection that we have co-organized in less than 18 months”, comments Hervé Thieblemont, our Seeds Business Development Manager for the Mekong region. “Myanmar is on the edge of joining UPOV in 2021. That would pave the way to a bright future for the nation’s seed industry.”