Giant Numbers

jan15_giantnumbers_1818 is the number of years a variety is protected under Plant Breeders’ Rights. “Those varieties that were protected under the old act, which was based on UPOV ’78, will continue to live on in the old act for as long as they are protected. So sometimes they will reach the 18 years of protection, the full duration that they are entitled to; more often than not they are surrendered earlier. The rights holder says I really don’t have any more value for this variety. But anything that is pending in the system now, the day the legislation comes into force, and anything that comes into effect afterwards will benefit from UPOV ’91, so we are going to have this transition time in the marketplace where there are going to be varieties out there protected by the old law and new material coming into the system that’s going to be protected under the new law. A lot of varieties either reach the end of PBR protection or surrender early and those fall in the public domain; farmers can use them without any access restricted whatsoever.” — Anthony Parker, Commissioner, Plant Breeders’ Rights Office, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

jan15_giantnumbers_120120 million is number of hectares of farmland in China. “China has a huge surface dedicated to agriculture — 120 million hectares. This is twice the size of Brazil or Russia, so this is a huge agricultural market. For a company like Syngenta, entirely dedicated to agriculture, China is not only a big market, but a big growing market.” — Pierre Cohadon, Territory Head, Syngenta China

jan15_giantnumbers_130130 is the number of member companies in the Canadian Seed Trade Association. “We have a very engaged membership, board of directors and a professional hard working staff at CSTA. There are many important and evolving issues that impact our membership. We are looking forward to the passage of Bill C-18, which will usher in increased investment in our sector and will also present a need for a communication campaign to inform our members and growers about the opportunities this bill will present. We are working as an industry to evaluate alternative delivery of field inspections and are working hard to expand the opportunity for 2nd party inspections as well. In addition, there is ongoing work on creating a more flexible variety registration program, and we are at the early stages of working towards developing intellectual property protection tools, evaluating tools like single use agreements to help increase investment in the seed industry and bring more value to growers. All of these projects, and many others, require a healthy and prosperous association and certainly the CSTA is just that type of organization.” — Dave Baute, president, Maizex Seeds and president of CSTA

jan15_giantnumbers_2020 is the number of years that Dennis Birtles, owner and president of Evident: Corporate Investigations and Agro Protection International, has been helping clients protect their intellectual property. “The role that our companies provide in this is assisting life science companies and breeders to protect their IP investments, while at the same time maintaining a system that is both fair and representative to the many people involved in modern 21st century agriculture. Our team understands the fine balance that must be struck between the protection of a company’s IP, the expectation of fairness in the marketplace and the fact that innovation is needed to advance the ability to feed everyone. Very often we are speaking to our clients’ customers about the need for intellectual property protection, and what we find is that the vast majority of growers understand and believe in the need for IP protection, and they appreciate the manner in which we carry out our duties. 2015 will mark our 20-year anniversary of helping our clients protect their IP, and we have proven each year that not only does it need to be done, but that it can be done without affecting sales or reputation.”

jan15_giantnumbers_200200 million is the number of farms in China. “China has 120 million hectares but that’s also 200 million farms and probably 600 million farmers, so there are a large number of smallholders in China and empowering them, making sure they can produce more, is very important.” — Pierre Cohadon, Territory Head, Syngenta China

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