International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

International Treaty Fund receives usd 119 000 for use of Plant Material


Dutch Plant Breeding Company Pays Into Benefit-sharing Fund

Rome, Italy 27 June 2018 – Nunhems Netherlands b.v., currently a subsidiary company of Bayer (soon a subsidiary of BASF), specializing in vegetable varieties, has paid USD 119 083 to the International Treaty’s Benefit-sharing Fund, equaling 0.77% of seed sales of ten varieties of vegetables commercialized using germplasm made available by the Centre for Genetic Resources of the Netherlands (CGN) and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) of Germany through the Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing of the International Treaty.

I greatly appreciate the transparency ofNunhems Netherlands in making the payment, which is a major milestone in the evolution of the International Treaty and should set a pattern for others to follow,” said Kent Nnadozie, Secretary of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources, FAO. “The International Treaty’s Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing was designed so that those benefitting from the use of seed or other genetic material available through the Multilateral System also share some of those benefits with farmers in developing countries through the Benefit-sharing Fund. Such payments, derived from the use of crop genetic resources, are critical in order for the system to continue working effectively.”

The International Treaty’s Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing (MLS) comprises a global genepool of over 2.3 million samples of crop seeds, available to farmers and breeders. Those who use seeds and planting material from this global genepool and make a profit from that are obliged to pay a certain percentage of their net sales back into the Benefit-sharing Fund, if they restrict further use for breeding of the newly developed products by others. This Fund is used to provide much-needed financial support to farmers and researchers in developing countries. Through the International Treaty, developing countries, which are often rich in natural and agricultural resources, receive the financial support needed to conserve and sustain the crops that provide our food supply.

“We hope that this is the onset of the harvest period and that in the future more use-based payments may be expected from us, but also from various other privately held breeding companies,” said Peter Ogg, Research & Development Legal Counsel of Nunhems Netherlands b.v. “As a professional plant breeding company, we often acquire certain germplasm for our breeding activities under the terms and conditions of the International Treaty’s Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA), and this payment is in keeping with that.”

To date, the MLS has facilitated the exchange of over 4 million samples of vital plant genetic material at an average rate of 1000 transfers per day.

“Gaining access to the global genepool of germplasm is one side of the coin; sharing the benefits derived from that access is the other side. Both are critical in order to maintain stakeholders’ confidence in, and support for the multilateral system,” Secretary Nnadozie said. “We welcome the Nunhems Netherlands ‘use-based’ payment to the Benefit-sharing Fund. The Fund supports projects that benefit smallholder farmers and communities such as those I recently met in Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania.”

To date, the Benefit-sharing Fund has supported over 61 projects in 55 developing countries over three projects cycles, using USD 20 million in voluntary contributions from Contracting Parties and others. The fourth round of projects will be launched later this year (2018).

Nunhems Netherlands is a leading brand in the seed industry that has been around for over 100 years with over 43 branches around the world, dealing in over 1,200 seed varieties that include 25 leading vegetable crops, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, onions and spinach.

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