21 • ASIAN SEED IDTERM REPORT key differences between Asia and the West: “In Europe or the US, PVP laws are very clear and legal enforcement more effective. Farmers there represent a small portion of the population. In Asia, farmers represent a large portion of the popula- tion, with many countries advocating sufficiency economy policies. Farm- ers rights are often mis- interpreted by legislators – which explains poor adoption of the UPOV convention.” Yoo Sung Jeong, head of Seed Produc- tion, Nongwoo Bio Co., Ltd offered the following flagrant example: “An ori- ental melon variety [was registered] for PVP [in S. Korea] -- under the name of an employee work- ing [in the company’s] account department!” He said senior breeders sometimes switch com- panies, then swiftly re- lease to market: “It is very difficult for us to under- stand how they breed the new varieties within such a short term.” Sumitra Kantrong, assistant VP of Thailand’s Chia Tai, called “the mov- ing of breeders to other companies with germ- plasm in their pocket” a “very sensitive” issue and said its solution should be a “top priority” for APSA members. Clover Seeds’ An- thony Tse said, “We will need more than PVP legislation and policing,” to overcome the problem because, in Asia, it is not a matter merely of “small companies and growers stealing from the breeding companies.” “In Asia the problem is among breeding com- panies themselves,” he said. “This is why I sug- gested we set up a code of ethics within the WIC to abide by, and to set an example for others.” Achieving IP har- mony among breeders, however, is only one step. Others may be more difficult to attain. For example, Plantum’s Anke van den Hurk, a member of APSA’s IPR & Biodiversity standing committee, said one of the biggest challenges may be getting “policy makers and the seed sector at the same ta- ble to understand each other’s point of view.” Several participants called attention to Asia’s regulatory environment, comparing it unfavor- ably to those of the US and the EU. As Mat- sumoto Akio, manager of Kaneko Seeds Co., observed: “We believe it would be beneficial if standards on seed im- port and export can be harmonized.” Mr. van Kempen’s presentation is avail- able to APSA and WIC members via members’ respective platforms on apsaseed.org. PRIVATE-PUBLIC PROGRESSION Dr. May Chodchoey – who joined APSA earlier this year as Deputy Di- rector and will step up as Acting Director from July, 2018 – has been leading the charge for stakeholder engagement in APSA technical affairs. At the midterms, she up- dated delegates on key activities of APSA’s R&D Committee: “Building on the recent success of two Asian So- lanaceous Round Tables (ASRT), APSA continues to gain strong momentum in the domain of public private collaboration,” Dr. Chodchoey said. Initially held in India in 2014, with a subse- quent meeting last year in Bangkok, the ASRT forum served private and public sector research- ers, who compared notes on the latest breeding technologies and tech- niques relevant to disease resistance and coun- try-specific trends for the Solanaceous crop family (chili peppers, tomatoes, eggplants etc.). Acting on recommen- dations made at the initial ASRT, a joint public and private sector collabora- tion was formed between participating APSA com- panies and the Thailand National Centre for Ge- netic Engineering and Biotechnology (Thailand). The objective of the initial phase of this “TO- SPO project I”, which Left: Dr. Kanokwan Chodchoey presents on APSA’s R&D Advisory Comittee’s activities. Above: APSA’s SIG for Vegetables & Ornamentals met on the morning of April 25 before joining the main WIC meeting that afternoon.