NFU vows to fight end of seed royalty exemption

Farmers growing older varieties of cereals and potatoes will not be exempt from paying royalties on farm-saved seed in the future.


A House of Commons committee voted on Tuesday (6 December) to overturn an exemption that allowed growers of potato varieties such as Nadine and cereal varieties Hereward and Riband, to avoid paying royalties.


The decision was preceded by an angry debate where several MPs vigorously opposed the extension of royalty collection rights.


The NFU’s Guy Gagen told Farmers Weekly that the decision had now become law and could not be challenged directly.


But indirectly the union may yet be able to overturn the end of the exemption, Mr Gagen said.


“We can and will contest the Act which underpins this ruling by taking our fight to Brussels and seeking amendments to EU law,” he explained.


“We now believe that the balance in the legislation is too strongly biased in favour of plant breeders and has become onerous for farmers.


“Sadly our relationship with the breeders is deteriorating rapidly,” he added.