Seed Info Official Newsletter of WANA Seed Network Issue 50
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The WANA Seed Network provides information on activities relating to global and/or regional cooperation and collaboration to facilitate the development of a vibrant regional seed industry. In this issue of Seed Info, we report on the regional seed courses organized by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the activities of the FAO sub-Regional Office for Central Asia’s (FAO-SEC’s) project, Seed Sector Develoment in Countries of the Economic Cooperation Orgnaization. In the NEWS AND VIEWS section, Niels Louwaars from the Dutch Seed Association writes about Royalty Payments and Collection on Farm Saved Seed. While the payment of a royalty in the certified seed use is widely accepted and included in seed price, such payment for on farm-saved seed (FSS) of protected varieties is a contentious issue between farmers and seedsmen in several countries. The provisions of FSS have changed with 1991 UPOV Convention. The new rules explicitly allowed farmers to use FSS of selected crops, and explicitly outlawed sales of such seed to others. It also extends the breeders’ rights to the harvested material giving further options, of collecting end-point royalties as a levy on the harvested product, with some exceptions for small-scale farmers. Royalty payment on FSS is now an established norm in some countries as a fair contribution for use of seed of protected varieties and practiced under different arrangements. The article highlights the basis of royalty payments on FFS and elaborates the mechanisms for its enforcements and collections in different countries. Other news in this section comes from Ethiopia, Kenya and Pakistan as well as regional and/or international organizations, such as the International Seed Testing Association and International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). The news from Ethiopia is on introduction of quality declared seed scheme, from Kenya on new online tools for informing farmers on seed selection, and from Pakistan the on-going efforts to reform and update the seed regulatory framework including the amendment of Seed Act 1976 and the enactment of new laws on plant variety protection and biosafety. The section on SEED PROGRAMS includes news from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Syria and Tunisia on release of new improved varieties of wheat, barley, chickpea and lentil by respective national agricultural research systems from the productive partnerships with ICARDA. Bangladesh continues with its success in lentil revolution by releasing micro-dense varieties rich in iron and zinc. Ethiopia is a major producer of cool season food legumes and wheat in sub-Saharan Africa, but diseases remain major challenges for crop production. The report includes the release of rust resistant lentil variety by Debre Berhan Agricultural Research Center and rust resistant wheat varieties for the highlands by Sinana ARC and for irrigated areas by Werer ARC. The RESEARCH section of Seed Info captures information on adaptive research or issues relevant to developing seed programs in the CWANA region and beyond. This issue features an article entitled ‘Impacts of Ultra-drying on Molecular and Ultra- structural Profile of Pearl Millet Genotypes’ by Vijay et al, from the Division of Seed Science and Technology of Indian Agricultural Research Institute, India. The paper discusses the effects of different drying methods and moisture content on changes at molecular and ultrastructural levels in pearl millets. Four different drying methods, namely; silica gel, saturated salt of lithium chloride, concentrated sulfuric acid and seed dryer were used and their effects analyzed. The results indicate that seeds can be dried safely up to 3% mc without affecting the viability and structural integrity. Drying also increases the storability of the genotypes.