Farmer-saved seeds: to sow or not to sow?

by Luigi Guarino on October 26, 2016

When a harvested material from a protected plant variety, such as seeds, is used for further sowing and cultivating, royalties need to be paid to the breeder of this protected variety. However, according to breeders, farm-saved seeds are sometimes used as an excuse to avoid paying royalties, and clear definitions should be established internationally. Conversely, small farmer associations think that once farmers buy a protected variety, they should be able to re-use those seeds, exchange or sell them.

That’s the topic of an UPOV seminar held a couple of days ago, as summarized by IP-Watch. It’s one of those things, I think, where any reasonable person should be able to see both sides of the argument. Which are eloquently presented in the extensive materials provided.

In the end, though, I was particularly encouraged by this statement:

Axel Metzger of the University of Humboldt, Germany, said not many cases about breeders’ right infringement have been brought to court in Germany.

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CNB Variety Showcase showcased

by Luigi Guarino on October 25, 2016

You need to get to the next CBN Variety Showcase. It’s a mix of public plant breeders, independent breeders, and farmers doing both complex breeding and simple improvements on older heirlooms – each of whom is paired with a chef. Those who attend get to learn about the breeding process and goals, and then sample dishes crafted from the crops. For example, a pastry chef (Nora Antene from Tusk) made a “Corn Silk Pie” with sweet corn bred by Bill Tracy (in a participatory plant breeding project with a number of farmers). This wasn’t an actual pie made from corn silks (but hey, has anyone tried it?) but rather a pie in the texture and tradition of chocolate silk. It may have been the best thing I’ve eaten in life. Although the hulless pepito ice cream was pretty damn good.

That’s from a comment on a recent Nibble on the Culinary Breeding Network that we thought deserved a higher profile. There’s a video of the event too.

Oh, and sorry about the slow blogging lately. Lots of travelling around still to come too, alas.


Brainfood: Truffle diversity, Pig diversity, SDMs

by Luigi Guarino on October 17, 2016


Watch people having food at the World Food Prize

by Luigi Guarino on October 13, 2016

You all know you can live stream different bits of the World Food Prize whatnot, right? Including the breakfasts and lunches, which seems extreme, and yet at the same time appropriate. I just hope orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are on the menu.

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International Agrobiodiversity Congress less than a month away

11 October 2016

The 1st International Agrobiodiversity Congress will be taking place in New Delhi, India from November 6-9, 2016. All the usual suspects will be there, and then some. We always say this, and we never (well, rarely) get any takers, but I’ll say it again for completeness, and because the social media arrangements for this particular […]

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Brainfood: Genomic data edition

10 October 2016

When more is better: how data sharing would accelerate genomic selection of crop plants. It’s the data sharing, stupid. Genomic prediction contributing to a promising global strategy to turbocharge gene banks. See what I mean? Conservation of Animal Genetic Resources – A New Tact. Yeah, for animals too. Indigenous stocks as treasure troves for sustainable […]

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A new dawn in Lebanon, and ICARDA

5 October 2016

If you’re one of the lucky few who follow me on social media, you’ll know I was in Lebanon last week for the opening of the new ICARDA genebank. It was great to meet the dedicated team of Lebanese and Syrian staff who are re-establishing the active collection at Terbol in the Bekaa Valley, with […]

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Aurochs redux

27 September 2016

A paper just out in Open Quaternary discusses “The Draft Genome of Extinct European Aurochs and its Implications for De-Extinction.” Not to boast about it, but we were onto that five years back.

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Brainfood: SE Asia archaeobotany, Avocado cryo, Farm diversity & revenue, DOC cheese, Kenyan agrobiodiversity, Perennial pigeonpea, Algerian sheep diversity, Basil rankings, Wild sunflower

26 September 2016

Rice, beans and trade crops on the early maritime Silk Route in Southeast Asia. At trade crossroads, crops had to audition for inclusion in the local menu. Cryopreservation of somatic embryos for avocado germplasm conservation. Still needs work. Soil fertility, crop biodiversity, and farmers’ revenues: Evidence from Italy. Diverse farms are more profitable, and can […]

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Happy birthday, international agricultural research!

22 September 2016

I may have missed a couple, but at least two international agricultural research centres have big birthday bashes this month: CIMMYT is 50 and CIP is 45. CIMMYT has marked the occasion with the release of a very comprehensive history of its early years, with lots of cool vintage photos.

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