Sri Lanka’s fruit and vegetable producers, processors and exporters recently urged the government to enact the long-delayed Plant Varieties Protection Bill. This Bill, commonly known as the ‘plant breeder’s rights law’, should boost fruit and vegetable exports by attracting investments into research and development of new plant materials and seed varieties.
While addressing the LFVPPEA’s 38th Annual General Meeting in Colombo, last Friday, Lanka Fruit and Vegetable Producers, Processors and Exporters Association (LFVPPEA) incoming president Suresh Ellawala said: “For commercial agriculture to succeed, the farmer must have access to the best available inputs with seed and planting material being the first item on the list. This will enable him to supply in demand produce, have better yields and make him more competitive.”
“While importing the best available seed, how do we enable innovation and development of our own varieties? Our laws do not protect property rights in relation to planting material. This is disincentive for companies to invest into research and development of new varieties. Further, it prevents the latest patented varieties of seed from being imported to Sri Lanka as they have little protection under our laws.”
At present, Sri Lanka doesn’t have intellectual property protection for plant varieties, making the country a non-compliant to the agreement on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights