Friday, September 18, 2015

Performance of Registered Hybrids on Seed Packets: Operational and Scientific Apprehensions

This post is with reference to the recent notification by PPVFRA, entitled "Public notice for compliance of all registered breeders" stating "Under section 39(2) of PPV&FR Act, 2001, every registered breeder has to disclose to the farmer the expected performance of the registered variety under given conditions. Failure to disclose would amount to contravening the provision of the PPV&FR Act, 2001 and the certificate of registration would liable to be cancelled".

I have few concerns about this notification for which I seek clarification from the Authority and my learned friends here:

1. In PPV FR Act, 2001 and PPV FR Rules, 2003, the term "Performance" is not defined anywhere, also there are no parameters enlisted to define the criteria.
2. Largely all seed companies are following guidelines of Seed Act, 1966 and mentioning truthful label on their seed packets which clearly states Germination and Purity Standards; this can also be considered as a way of expressing performance of the hybrid/ varietal seed under given conditions. If the Authority desires registered breeders to mention "Yield, biotic and abiotic tolerances under given conditions", the matter of preplexity is how scientific and valid the data would be when it comes to all India release and release in major zones, because the data might be generated in specific agro-climatic zones and may not hold good for other regions/ zones? If at all the breeders generate data and mention in the seed packets, will it be acceptable to the authority and which government body will be held responsible to verify the same? Is this not unscientific to mention yield on seed packets; because the traits determining yield are highly dynamic in nature and tend to vary drastically with environment and crop management conditions.
4. The objective of Authority is to invite claims from farmers in case of crop failure of the registered variety, the concern here is do they have sufficient infrastructure, resources, guidelines and know how to access and close the claims in a transparent and justified manner? Or will it be a responsibility of the concerned Agriculture Department, who are already taking care of these issues?
5. Apart from the operational issues, one concern is while evaluating the hybrids/varieties for registration under PPVFR; the criteria of yield is not under consideration whereas the major emphasis is on novelty, distinctness, uniformity and stability, then why after grant this is being imposed on the breeders?

Looking forward for your responses here for more clarity in understanding...

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