5 April 2002

Register overseas

VARIETY registration may be driven overseas following moves by the government to put up costs to plant breeders.

A new internet-based data-gathering service will help cut costs by up to £500,000/year, but will do little to offset big cost increases over the next few years, say breeders.

Plans by DEFRA to develop the electronic system using a £289,000 grant from the Treasury and Cabinet Office are welcome, says Penny Maplestone, technical manager of the British Society of Plant Breeders.

But DEFRA wants to start charging breeders in full for the process of securing National List approval, breeders rights and seed certification. A wheat variety can already cost over £10,000. The changes could add a further 50%.

Breeders could be forced to register varieties in Europe, where costs are significantly lower. &#42