10 November 1995

Royalty moratorium

PLANT breeders have agreed to postpone collection of farm-saved seed royalty payments on crops sown this autumn.

The move follows recent talks between the British Society of Plant Breeders and the NFU to resolve the row over royalty rates and collection. Talks are continuing and the decision to defer collection will be examined once an outcome is reached.

Both sides aim to agree a fair and cost-effective collecting system and produce a joint document that could be discussed with other interested parties. BSPB chairman David Taylor said talks over the past couple of weeks had been "constructive".

He said union representatives acknowledged breeders rights to collect royalties on farm-saved seed from EU protected varieties and to set the royalty rate on certified seed.

"The breeders prefer to develop a collection system that is farmer friendly and entails a minimum of collection and welcome the farmers unions help in developing a low cost system," added Mr Taylor.

An NFU statement said breeders have been granted the right, under European law, to collect payments from farmers using farm-saved seed of protected varieties.

It added that deferment would allow the EU more time to publicise the list of varieties that will qualify for farm-saved seed payments.