This week the CAS-IP team have been attending the World Seed Conference taking place at the FAO in Rome. The audience is from a wide range of backgrounds, public and private sector, seed companies and farmer group representatives, breeders and policy makers.
Presentations from the programme are available on the conference web site.
As expected Intellectual Property (patents and PVP) were mentioned several times during the day. One context of interest was the relationship of increased yields, plant breeding that leads to utilization of genetics and the introduction of IPRs over varieties –all three of these initiated in the 1960s. A graph that appeared again and again throughout the day tied these factors together into a compelling display showing a sharp curve for yield increases in various crops in various regions (both developed and developing countries).
During the summing up Mr Orlando de Ponti, President of the International Seed Federation (ISF) noted the concurrence of increased yields and IP protection. Perhaps the situation has become more complicated in recent years, with biotechnology crops, especially those that include protected inputs – However it is a reminder to keep an open mind about formal intellectual property protection in the context of development.