Five Prairie wheat and barley groups have “significant concerns” surrounding the Seed Variety Use Agreement pilot project recently announced by the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) and the Canadian Plant Technology Agency (CPTA).

The Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association (MWBGA), Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (Sask Wheat), Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission (SaskBarley), and the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions have released a joint statement saying they are “not a party to, nor supportive of this pilot SVUA program.”

Read more: CSTA, CPTA launch SVUA pilot project

“MWBGA has questions about the implications of the proposed SVUA pilot and its impact on the credibility of the ongoing consultation process being managed by AAFC (Agriculture Agri-Food Canada) and the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency),” says Fred Greig, MWBGA chair. “We also continue to wait for the economic analysis to be released by AAFC as the next step in the consultation process.”

The five groups say that this project is separate from the federal government’s consultation process on a new seed royalty structure, and they believe this is a clear sign to what the seed industry wants despite the ongoing consultation with the government.

“Sask Wheat wants to ensure producers’ rights, such as the right to use farm-saved seed, are being protected in any pilot contracts and that producers clearly understand the impact of the contracts on their farms,” says Brett Halstead, Sask Wheat chair. “We are concerned that the proposed trailing royalties could inhibit the adoption of midge tolerant varieties, should they be included as part of the pilot, which would have negative implications for the Midge Tolerant Wheat program.”

The producer groups emphasize that it’s necessary for AAFC to provide assurance that all royalties collected through the SVUA on AAFC publicly-bred varieties will be returned to AAFC’s wheat variety breeding program in an open and transparent way to supplement the funding currently provided by producers and the federal government.

Listen to the discussion between RealAgriculture’s Jessika Guse and Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions executive director, Tom Steve on the matter:

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