Agriculture

Plant variety protection necessary for food security – NASC DG  

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Dr Philip Ojo, the Director-General, National Agricultural Seeds Council (NASC) says a strong Plant Variety Protection (PVP) system can improve food security in the country.

Ojo made the remarks during the NASC staff training on plant breeders’ right for food security and economic development at the council’s headquarters at Sheda, Abuja on Wednesday.

The training was titled: “NASC Staff training on Plant Variety Protection (PVP)/Plant Breeders Right (PBR) for food security and Economic Development”.

The Director-General, represented by Mr Adebayo Agboola, the Director of Seed Inspectorate said that the PVP bill was currently before the House of Representatives.

He said that many countries were developing and implementing a legal framework for the protection of plant varieties within an intellectual property rights system.

Ojo said that the three-day training was organised by NASC as part of activities aimed at exposing staff to the nitty-gritty of plant variety protection law.

“They are selected as champions from their various regions to be updated on and pass the information down the line,’’ he said.

Mr Okelola Folarin, the Technical Adviser to the D-G and PVP Desk Officer in Nigeria, said that having the PVP law in place would ensure better genetics and better varieties.

“Better materials will come into the system because breeders will be protected.

“And because of this, they will be encouraged to do more and farmers will have access to superior genetics,’’ Okelola said.

The PVP desk officer, who made a presentation on recent developments in International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) and benefits of the Plant Variety Protection System, said that PVP could change the mode of agricultural production.

He spoke on how the PVP can be used to achieve maximum public good and gave a high-level study of Japan done in July 2016, on how farmers benefitted due to the impact of the Plant Variety Protection Law and the resultant yield.

He noted the impact of the Plant Variety Protection in Kenya (Cut flower exports 1995-2013) and its successes.

Okelola said that besides developing legislation, the implementation of the Plant Breeders’ Rights system had far-reaching consequences of a legal, institutional, technical, financial and commercial nature.

Mr. Charles Onwuka, a staff of the council, said that over time, the PVP had been a topical issue, which NASC was pushing for its legislation.

Onwuka, who also made a presentation on the impact of UPOV membership in Vietnam, said that Vietnam became a member of UPOV in 2006 and since then, it had recorded tremendous benefits.

“One of the benefits was the increased investments in plant breeding and because of the PVP, and had increased investment in plant breeding.

“Now, the country has diversities of breeders in the public and private sector, who are into breeding.

“The reason is that they are benefitting from the work of their intellects and because their rights are protected,’’ Onwuka said.
/GY

Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde/Grace Yussuf

 

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