Seed Info No. 33
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Seed Info aims to stimulate information exchange and communication among seed staff in the Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) region. The purpose is to help strengthen national seed programs, which supply quality seed to farmers. The WTO Agreement on Trade Related Aspcts of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) has triggered an important debate on the legal protection of innovations in many countries. Apart from WTO, many bilateral free trade agreements between the US or EU and developing countries contain clauses to harmonize IPRs at levels higher than the minimum requirements of TRIPS. This reduces opportunities for developing countries to target their national IPR systems to specific national requirements. Giving the trade objectives priority in the design of national IPR systems leads almost automatically to increased harmonization. Since IPRs are primarily designed to stimulate innovation and development, not to promote trade, countries should have a freedom to give priority to the Development Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (DRIPS). When DRIPS is given due importance, harmonization will not be a goal in itself, but a specific outcome of explicit national policy. In the NEWS AND VIEWS section, your regular contributor Niles Louwaars once again addresses the issue of intellectual property from the perspective of TRIPS or DRIPS. There is also news from the International Seed Federation (ISF) highlighting its annual congress in Christchurch, New Zealand; African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA) on its 7th Annual Seed Congress in Livingstone, Zambia; and Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties (UPOV) on accession of Morocco to its convention. The section on SEED PROGRAMS includes news from Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Libya, Oman, Syria and Uzbekistan. The news from Afghanistan focuses on village based seed enterprises in eastern Afghanistan and the newly established National Seed Committee. The news from Ethiopia covers the on going Tailor Made Training Program by the Ethiopian Seed Enterprise, Wageningen International and ICARDA to strengthen human resources at federal and regional levels to support farmer-based seed production. From Libya, we report on the role of the National Center for Improved Seed Production (NCISP) in seed production and supply. There is also news on various training courses in capacity development of human resources in the seed sector from Oman, Syria, Turkey and Uzbekistan. In the HOW TO section, Abdoul Aziz Niane discusses the practical application of simplifying purity testing for seed quality assurance. We invite our readers to contribute to this section and share their practical experience. The RESEARCH section aims to capture information on adapted research or issues relevant to seed program development in the region and beyond. Asrat Asfaw from the Southern Agricultural Research Institute writes about bean seed flow and exchange networks in southern Ethiopia. Seed Info encourages the exchange of information on the national, regional, and global seed industry.