Conventional breeding shouldn’t be patented says European Parliament
Today, the European Parliament has defended the interests of farmers and society by adopting a resolution that states plants, seeds, native traits and genes obtained through conventional practices of breeding must not be patented. Further MEPs affirm that biological plant material and breeders’ access to it “is vital to encourage innovation and the development of new varieties to ensure global food security, tackle climate change and to prevent monopolies.”*
The organic food and farming sector welcomes the resolution and urges the Commission and the Member States to tackle the issue and have the European Patents Office (EPO) to act accordingly.
Plant varieties are usually protected by “plant variety rights”, a better suited and more flexible form of intellectual property that gives breeders the ability to use protected varietes to create new ones. On the contrary, patents prevent the circulation of genetic resources, hinder research and lead to monopolization. Furthermore, it is essential for food security, biodiversity and adaptation to climate change that farmers keep the right to breed their own seeds, adapted to their local conditions.