An open letter to Canadian farmers and seed growers:
As a seed company created by growers, for growers, CANTERRA SEEDS has always been committed to providing farmers the very best seed. By accessing varieties from public breeding programs and investing directly in breeding through Saskatoon-based joint-venture, Limagrain Cereals Research Canada, CANTERRA SEEDS demonstrates day in and day out our dedication to investing in a successful future for Canadian farmers.
Canadian agriculture is an economic driver, providing 1 in every 8 jobs. To ensure the long-term viability of our industry, CANTERRA SEEDS believes that proper investment in better performing, high-yielding cereal varieties will be required. A more prosperous Canadian agriculture industry is possible, but it is not guaranteed.
It has been clear for some time that Canada’s current royalty collection model is not providing the returns needed for sustainable reinvestment in breeding that will ensure Canadian farmers remain competitive on a world stage. Currently, not a single public or private breeding program is able to cover their operating costs through Certified seed sales alone. CANTERRA SEEDS believes that farmers, breeders, seed companies and the entire value chain need a new value creation system that will ensure continued investment in the development of value-added varieties that deliver increased returns to farmers. Improved performance, whether it be yield, disease, quality or agronomics, will come from increased investment in all sectors of breeding.
As part of Canada’s adoption of Plant Breeders Rights legislation, work was undertaken by a committee to examine options for modernizing Canada’s royalty collection model. This committee brought farmers, breeders and industry representatives together to examine new, sustainable models to keep Canadian agriculture competitive in the decades ahead. The committee recommended two royalty collection models to government for broad consultation and for legal and economic analyses. Presently, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are conducting engagement sessions to discuss these two value creation models for possible implementation in Canada. The two models are end point royalties and trailing use contracts.
CANTERRA SEEDS supports the proposed system of Seed Variety Use Agreement (SVUA), a version of a trailing use contract system which has been endorsed by the Seed Synergy partners. The three pillars of the SVUA are:
- Value: Canadian growers will benefit from improved seed genetics that are essential to remain competitive globally; a grower must see value in a new variety otherwise they will not consider purchasing it.
- Transparency: There must be transparency around how the system will work and what the contract terms will be.
- Choice: Canadian growers must have a choice – in the varieties they use and in their participation in the new system.
Public and private variety development research for several crops in Canada is currently under-resourced, and increased plant breeding investment is critical for the successful future of Canadian farmers. The SVUA addresses the serious need for increased investment in Canadian plant breeding. As a key player in the seed industry that is committed to a long-term future in Canada, CANTERRA SEEDS is committed to re-investing additional royalties directly back into both public and private breeding efforts that benefit Canadian growers.
Over the coming months, consultations will continue to take place among farmers, breeders, seed companies, industry associations and governments. CANTERRA SEEDS encourages a constructive, informative dialogue among all parties. The future of our sector is too important for anything less.
President & CEO