For plant breeders in New Zealand, the next couple of months will mark two significant achievements.

November 8th celebrates the 40th anniversary of NZs accession to the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) Convention. Moreover, by the end of December, Parliament is scheduled to pass the Plant Variety Rights Bill, which will align domestic law with the globally agreed convention.

A major change under the new PVR Bill will enable plant breeders, through the regulations, to seek exemptions to the practice of farm-saved seed. In support of this, a heads of agreement document is being framed between plant breeders and farmer representatives.

Post the passage of the Bill, plant breeders and farmers will work with officials to lay the groundwork for a royalty collection system for those varieties where a royalty will be paid on farm-saved seed. Royalties are important, as they help breeders re-invest to support the development and delivery of more choices for farmers and crop end users.

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