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Plant Breeders Rights
 
 

Plant Breeders Rights

Potato crop yields have increased dramatically over the last 50 years. In the Netherlands e.g from 19 to 47 MT/ha.

This has been achieved by a combination of improved agronomy and the continuous efforts of plant breeders in search of improved potato varieties.

The requirements imposed by the market, producers and users, are constantly changing. The breeders respond to this by making a joint effort to develop an up-to date range of varieties. Many years of research and development precede the introduction of each new variety. This may even span dozens of years if it concerns a variety with a property derived from a related wild variety. Even the final step in development of a new variety, the cross-breeding and selecting, takes at least 10 to 15 years.

It is fairly easy to formulate what requirements a variety must meet today.  It is far more difficult to predict the requirements a potato variety will have to meet in 15 years? time. Breeders have to anticipate future developments in environmental and food safety requirements(e.g. greater resistance to diseases to restrict pesticide use) and changes in the consumer market for fresh and processed potatoes (e.g. quality characteristics). The benefits of better quality and disease resistant crops go directly to producers and users.

Plant Breeders? Rights (PBR) or Plant Variety Protection (PVP) have been institutionalised in many countries to encourage an ongoing investment in plant breeding - which is recognised as the single most cost-effective way to increase yields, market value, and disease resistance. These rights have been operating in  Holland for more than 35 years.

Plant Breeders' Rights  or Plant Variety Protection protect the unique qualities of the varieties and generally takes the form of a royalty being collected at the time the seed is sold. This allows the breeders of new varieties to recover their investment in research and development by giving them control over the multiplication and sale of the reproductive material of a new variety.

The rights and obligations of the breeders for PVP varieties are laid down in national plant variety protection laws, as e.g. in Holland in the ?Seeds and Planting Material Act?. The National legislations are based on and in compliance with the various Acts of the UPOV Convention. Presently, 50 nations joined UPOV as a member. The respective National Plant Variety Protection Laws of the 50 UPOV members states can be found at http://www.upov.int

The WTO intellectual property agreement (TRIPS) provides for plant variety protection as well. In this agreement, members shall provide for the protection of plant varieties either by patents or by an effective sui generis system or by any combination thereof.

The New Zealand patent agent firm Pipers has an excellent directory of National Plant Variety Offices.