Nataliia Melnychuk /
16 July 2020Plant Varieties

Plant industry pleas for royalty ‘fairness’ during pandemic strain

Plant industry associations say “reason and fairness” will be needed from both growers and breeders as royalty payments mount.

In a joint statement published this week, groups representing both breeders and growers called on each other to recognise the difficulty facing the entire industry during the pandemic.

In the industry, growers of plants owe royalties to breeders, who select and alter the genetic traits of the plant that is to be grown.

Now groups including the International Association of Horticultural Producers ( AIPH), the International Community of Breeders of Asexually Reproduced Horticultural Plants ( CIOPORA), and  Union Fleurs have stated that they are “united in a call to growers and breeders to recognise the extreme financial challenges both groups are facing”.

Growers and breeders must also “recognise that royalty payments are imperative for the sustainability of ornamentals breeding and for stimulating the innovation we need as we recover from the crisis,” the statement added.

Despite the show of unity, each group stressed the importance of protecting their sector’s interests. Augusto Solano, president of the  Association of Colombian Flower Exporters, said: “We recognise the importance of paying royalties to maintain a strong supply of plant material, but we also call on breeders to recognise the unique challenges faced by growers this year.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Tim Briercliffe, head of fellow breeders’ group AIPH, who said: “Some growers have had to bear the costs of extreme losses this year and many are facing significant financial challenges. It is clear that growers will rely on a sympathetic and understanding approach from their suppliers to keep them going through this difficult year.”

But Edgar Krieger, secretary general of breeders’ association CIOPORA, said it was “concerning that breeders are often the last to be paid within a crop production cycle, because like any supplier they will suffer if contracts are not honoured”.

“Breeders want to maintain good relationships with their customers, whether they are large or small growers, but they depend on the payment of their royalties for the continuation of their businesses,” Krieger added.

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