23 • ASIAN SEED IDTERM REPORT Germplasm has traveled all across the world, with contributions from many countries in each germplasm. The current countries, no doubt, have improved [varieties]. They also have to recognize the contribution to germplasms of other countries. Then there can be a good common ground for sharing the germplasm, though bringing the right mind-set could be a great challenge. Mr. Senthilnathan Sengottuvelu Managing Director Rasi Seeds Co. Ltd APSA’s position paper on Intellectual Property Rights for the seed industry proves how serious we are regarding IP issues. High priority should be given to adjudication of IP matters in Asia. The fee for private sector companies is very high, both for applications and for DUS testing. Even when [a variety] is registered, the yearly maintenance fee is high and there is a royalty fee payable on registered varieties at the rate of 0.2 percent of net sales. This impacts product pricing due to increase in development costs. Cases pile up in court for decades – and that is also a major challenge as IP rights are bestowed for a limited period, and thus the purpose of protection is lost. There is no tribunal for direct monitoring and a lack of skilled techno-legal experts to deal with IP related issues. I strongly feel that creation of a body like AIB and SIPA would be a very important step in Asia. Dr. Rajesh Ramdas Wankhade Lead Breeder, Vegetables Mahyco Group Processing variety registration, submission of seed samples and their handling, litigation and listing of varieties – in Pakistan, we have no in-built mechanism for reciprocal protection. The South Asian Region is adding some clauses from the Convention on Biological Diversity, community rights, and benefit sharing. These may conflict with those of countries that adopted the UPOV 1991 model. Moreover, these countries will have some difficulty in joining UPOV, due to a lack of harmonization. In South Asia, severe political conflicts seem to make such harmonization impossible, which ultimately affects regional seed trade. Since plant breeding activities are predominantly public-oriented -- and most main crop varieties will be submitted for protection – government will try to keep royalties too low to recover the cost of variety development. Mr. Muhammad Asim Butt CEO of Rachna Agri Business Co-chair of APSA SIG Cover Crops Non-harmonization of PVP laws in Asia is the biggest obstacle. Presently, few countries are UPOV members. Counterfeit seed sales are a major concern. Harmonization of PVP laws based on UPOV 1991 will encourage countries in Asia to deliver innovative genetics for farmers in the region. Mr. Harry Singh Managing Director Rijk Zwaan India The law enforcement environment in Asia is complex, and there are different levels of maturity among member countries. The biggest challenges and opportunities involve making clear laws and enforcing them. Mr. Rahul Pagar Portfolio Lead – Asia, HM Clause Co-chair of APSA’s WIC Asia is very behind the EU regarding IPR & PVP. APSA should contribute to improving the situation as the biggest group of seed companies in the region. Lots of people in the industry don’t understand the real value of IPR/PVP. Making them understand [that] is the biggest challenge. Mr. Lee Jin Man Head of Strategy Nongwoo Bio Co., Ltd APSA Members are encouraged to get involved! The first step is to download discussion notes and action points from the respective SIG and SC pages on APSA’s website, where you can find all upcoming meetings and event listings. We also welcome comments, feedback and contributions to Asian Seed. Please email Steven@apsaseed.org. Asian Industry Voice on IPR Following the conclusion of APSA’s midterms, Asian Seed reached out to delegates to ask their views on IPR and PVP in Asia: what makes this region unique, and what do they see as the main obstacles, challenges and opportunities? Comments have been edited for clarity.