NATIONAL Assembly yesterday endorsed a protocol for protection of new varieties of plants rights in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to the delight of local plants and seeds breeders.
Tabling the protocol here, Agriculture Minister Japhet Hasunga (pictured) said the convention will be of great importance in providing an effective way to protect new plant varieties.
The protocol, he said, has been tabled with the aim of encouraging plant breeding and facilitating agricultural advancements for the benefits of the SADC region.
The minister further said the protocol has provision for plant breeders’ rights, which will allow farmers to access wide range of improved crop varieties and contribute to attainment of the regional goal of economic development and food security.
Mr Hasunga said the protocol will provide for establishment of an effective system of plant variety protection as well as promote new varieties of plants for the benefit of the region and country as a whole.
The plant breeders’ right, according to the protocol, shall be granted where the variety is new, distinct, uniform and stable.
However, the plant breeders’ right has to file an application to be recognisable at one of the National Authorities of a member state, which shall confirm that it contains all the needed specified information.
The plant breeders’ right will be varied for 25-years for trees and vines while all other genera and species will be for 20 years from the grant of breeder rights.
The plants breeders’ right scope shall in respect of the propagated materials of protected variety require the authorisation of the rights holders, otherwise will constitute an infringement of the holder’s right.
Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture, Water and Livestock Mahmoud Mgimwa advised the government to set aside the needed financial resources for research instead of depending on donor funds for the noble task.
He said without supporting local experts, chances are, they will be left behind in the SADC market. Mr Mgimwa also underscored the need to change rules and regulations to match the protocol objectives.
“The government should create facilitative and conducive environment that will promote local plants and seed breeding to increase production but also have motivation for plants breeders,” he said.
Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office, Union Affairs and Environment, George Simbachawene also tabled the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagema Protocol on Biosafety, which the house endorsed as well.