26 May 1995

Euro-seed row

MEPs have slammed the European Commission for failing to set royalty rates on protected farm-saved seed.

Speaking at the European parliaments agriculture committee, Cambridgeshire Conservative MEP Robert Sturdy said royalties should be no more than 30% of the rate charged on certified seed. Irish MEP Alan Gillis said he opposed any restriction on the use of farm saved-seed. "But rates of 30% are still a mile too high," he added.

If no rate is fixed by late summer, the whole industry will be plunged into confusion, said a COPA spokesman. Farmers will not know how much they will have to pay to re-use seed.

while breeders may underestimate the legal difficulties entailed in trying to extract a higher payment, he said.

Defending its decision to leave royalty levels unfixed, a commission spokesman argued that it cannot act without the relevant information to support a given rate.