South Africa’s proposed seed laws to severely restrict Farmers’ Rights


Warning: Use of undefined constant gad_content_tag_filter_replace - assumed 'gad_content_tag_filter_replace' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /home/selfsust/public_html/wp-content/plugins/web-ninja-google-analytics/webninja_ga.php on line 1813

We have the pleasure of a guest post from the African Centre for Biosafety on the proposed changes to the Plant Breeders Rights Act. These proposed changes are of critical importance to anyone that uses seed or plant material.

 

Guest Post by: Mariam Mayet

African Centre for Biosafety

www.acbio.org.za

Introduction

In this briefing, we bring to the attention of small- holder farmers, the proposed amendments by the South African government (Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) to its Plant Breeders Rights Act concerning the issue of Farmers Rights. The proposed legislation will have far reaching implications for the rights of farmers vis-à-vis commercially protected varieties of food crops. The proposed amendments cut to the very heart of the rights of farmers to save, use, exchange seed and propagation material. We urge small farmers in particular, to engage in the process and make their voices and objections heard.

Farmers Rights

Farmers Rights are those rights arising from the past, present and future contributions of farmers in conserving, improving and making available genetic resources, particularly those in the centres of origin/diversity. The concept of Farmers Rights is recognised in the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture (FAO) International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources, (“The Seed Treaty”), which entered into force in 2004. The Seed Treaty’s objectives include the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. Its preamble affirms farmers’ rights to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed and other propagating material, and to participate in decision-making.

Further, Article 9 of the Treaty recognizes the enormous contribution that local and indigenous communities and farmers of all regions of the world, particularly those in the centres of origin and crop diversity, have made and will continue to make for the conservation and development of plant genetic resources which constitute the basis of food and agriculture production throughout the world.

Plant Breeders Rights in South Africa

Currently, South Africa’s Plant Breeders Rights Act, 1976 (Act No.15 of 1976) grants plant breeders certain intellectual property and other rights over plant varieties. These allow the rights holder to claim royalties as remuneration for the use of a protected variety and prevent unlawful uses. The plant breeder/right holder has a sole right to the variety for the first 5 to 8 years to produce and market propagating material of the variety. During the next 15 to 17 years the holder is compelled to issue licenses to other persons who may also wish to use and market the material. When the holder issues a licence to another person, the holder may continue to claim royalties for any propagating material produced and sold. Use of a protection variety without the consent of the right holder is thus not allowed and is regarded as unlawful.

Section 23 of the Act provides for certain exceptions, which allows a farmer to use farm saved seeds and propagating material on land occupied by him or her without paying royalties. The law does not, however, allow the exchange of protected seeds between farmers.

SA, UPOV and farmers rights

South Africa’s plant breeder’s rights legislation is strongly influenced by the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties (UPOV). UPOV was established in 1961 and is an international regime designed principally to protect the interests of plant breeders. UPOV has been amended several times-in 1972, 1978 and 1991. South Africa is a Party to the 1978 UPOV agreement and its provisions are binding on the Republic. In terms of the 1978 UPOV agreement, the holder of a plant variety had a monopoly on the commercial propagation and marketing of the variety but little control over other uses. The scope of the intellectual property right protection is only in respect of production for the purposes of commercial marketing, offering for sale and marketing of propagating material of a protected variety.

Farmers were thus free to multiply seed for their own use for as long as they wished. Breeders were also free to use a protected variety to develop a new variety as long as it did not require repeated use of that variety. Farmers were also allowed to freely use their harvested material from a protected variety for any purposes.

However all of this changed dramatically when UPOV was revised in 1991, the rights of breeders strengthened and those of farmers severely curtailed.

UPOV 1991 extended the scope of a plant breeder rights’ to also include other activities such as exporting, importing and stocking of protected varieties. Breeders’ rights were also restricted in that they were no longer allowed to produce varieties that were essentially derived from a protected variety. Crucially, it allowed national governments to decide whether farmers could be allowed to reuse the harvest of protected varieties on their own landholdings without the authorisation of the rights holder. UPOV 1991 binds its members to disallow the exchange or selling of such harvested material. There is no flexibility in UPOV with regard to this restriction.

While South Africa has signed this UPOV 1991 version, it has not yet ratified it. In other words, the UPOV 1991 is not binding on South Africa and it is thus under no obligation to either implement or ratify UPOV 1991. No developing country that is a member of the 1978 UPOV agreement, including major grain exporting countries such as Brazil and Argentina, has ratified UPOV 1991.

Nevertheless, South Africa, already as far back as 1996, and in terms of amendments to the Plant Breeders Rights Act at that time, began a process of implementing some of the UPOV 1991 provisions. These relate inter alia to the restriction on farmers’ rights, particularly in regard to harvested material. The current provisions of the Plant Breeders Rights Act, namely those contained in the current section 23(6)(f) thus prohibits the exchange of harvested material and ties such harvested material to a farmer who is in occupation of land. However, farmers are allowed to use all propagating material including vegetative material for the purposes of propagation.

Proposed new law severely restricts farmers’ rights

Now, South Africa wants change to its Plant Breeders Rights Act and further restrict farmers’ rights. It has during 2011, published the Plant Breeders’ Rights Bill for comment. Stakeholder consultations are still underway and government is still open to receiving inputs and comments. Government appears to be particularly keen to engage with small farmers.

The Plant Breeders’ Rights Bill contains a new section 9, dealing with farmers rights. It continues to prohibit the exchange of protected seeds between farmers, however there are still no limits on farm saved seeds for further propagation.

The proposed provisions contained in sections 9(1)(d) and 9(2) are of crucial importance. A farmer is now restricted to only use harvested material on land occupied by him from a protected variety (as opposed to propagating material which is the current position). Propagating material has a wide definition and includes any reproductive or vegetative material of a plant that can be used for the propagation of such plant whilst maintaining the essential characteristics of the original plant. Small farmers must carefully consider that the implications are of these restrictions for them. Furthermore, the exchange of such harvested material derived from protected varieties between farmers is prohibited.

Seed that is later produced post harvest from such protected variety appears to be excluded from the provisions and may not be used for further saving, propagation and exchange.

The proposed section 9(1)(2) expressly prohibits farmers from saving, exchanging, propagating or using protected varieties of vegetatively propagated crops (which will be prescribed). Vegetatively propagated material are produced asexually and in agronomic terms, includes, apples, avocados, cannabis, citrus, date, fig, grapes, manioc, potato, strawberry, sugarcane, tea, vanilla and willow. This prohibition will have extremely far reaching implications for farmers.

Small- holder farmers need protection

The South African government argues in its 2011 Plant Breeders’ Rights Policy that as a result of the lack of a clear definitions of ‘farmer’ and scale of production and the scope of the plant varieties, the farmers privilege has been abused by commercial farmers, to such an extent that there has been a significant decrease in the investment in planting breeding and the virtual collapse of plant breeding programmes. It appears that breeders have singled our vegetatively propagated crops as a major problem.

While it is beyond the scope of this article to delve into these arguments, we do believe as a general principle, that Farmers Rights, particularly those of small- holder and subsistence farmers should be fully protected and not restricted.

The rights of small famers to save and exchange all seed and use and exchange propagating material (including seeds) between communities is in fact non-negotiable. Farmers’ Rights are crucial for ensuring present and future food security in general, and in the fight against rural poverty in particular. Farmers’ Rights are necessary prerequisites for the maintenance of crop genetic diversity, which is the basis of all food and agriculture production in the world. The protection and recognition of Farmers’ Rights will allow farmers to maintain and develop crop genetic resources as they have done since the dawn of agriculture some ten thousand years ago.

The government needs to pay special attention to the needs and interests of small-holder black farmers, particularly with regard to land tenure, land holding, communal ownership of land and generally how communities organise themselves when it comes to farming the land and the use of harvested material.

Conclusion

We urge the South African government thus to craft provisions for the recognition and protection of farmers rights. Such provisions must be clear and unambiguous and must clearly take into consideration and respond to the particular circumstances and constraints of small- holder farmers.

Plant Breeders Rights and other forms of intellectual property over plant varieties have played an enormous role in the monopolisation and control by corporations over South Africa’s food systems. South Africa must protect its small farming communities and ensure that Farmers Rights are not impeded from continuing to make a contribution to the conservation, development and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for agriculture production. We also strongly urge the South African government not to ratify UPOV 1991, which will undermine the flexibility that the government presently enjoys to give effect to the recognition and protection of Farmers Rights.

Editors Note: We strongly urge and advise every member of society that would be affected by the proposed laws to get involved. If these laws are passed or the UPOV 1991 is ratified it will be too late and you may find that what you are now doing for pleasure or profit will become illegal.

I would advise that you get intouch with Mariam via the African Center for Biosaftey Website to help formulate your responses.

It’s now or never !!!

Introduction

In this briefing, we bring to the attention of small- holder farmers, the proposed amendments by the South African government (Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) to its Plant Breeders Rights Act concerning the issue of Farmers Rights. The proposed legislation will have far reaching implications for the rights of farmers vis-à-vis commercially protected varieties of food crops. The proposed amendments cut to the very heart of the rights of farmers to save, use, exchange seed and propagation material. We urge small farmers in particular, to engage in the process and make their voices and objections heard.

Farmers Rights

Farmers Rights are those rights arising from the past, present and future contributions of farmers in conserving, improving and making available genetic resources, particularly those in the centres of origin/diversity. The concept of Farmers Rights is recognised in the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture (FAO) International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources, (“The Seed Treaty”), which entered into force in 2004. The Seed Treaty’s objectives include the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. Its preamble affirms farmers’ rights to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed and other propagating material, and to participate in decision-making.

Further, Article 9 of the Treaty recognizes the enormous contribution that local and indigenous communities and farmers of all regions of the world, particularly those in the centres of origin and crop diversity, have made and will continue to make for the conservation and development of plant genetic resources which constitute the basis of food and agriculture production throughout the world.

Plant Breeders Rights in South Africa

Currently, South Africa’s Plant Breeders Rights Act, 1976 (Act No.15 of 1976) grants plant breeders certain intellectual property and other rights over plant varieties. These allow the rights holder to claim royalties as remuneration for the use of a protected variety and prevent unlawful uses. The plant breeder/right holder has a sole right to the variety for the first 5 to 8 years to produce and market propagating material of the variety. During the next 15 to 17 years the holder is compelled to issue licenses to other persons who may also wish to use and market the material. When the holder issues a licence to another person, the holder may continue to claim royalties for any propagating material produced and sold. Use of a protection variety without the consent of the right holder is thus not allowed and is regarded as unlawful.

Section 23 of the Act provides for certain exceptions, which allows a farmer to use farm saved seeds and propagating material on land occupied by him or her without paying royalties. The law does not, however, allow the exchange of protected seeds between farmers.

SA, UPOV and farmers rights

South Africa’s plant breeder’s rights legislation is strongly influenced by the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties (UPOV). UPOV was established in 1961 and is an international regime designed principally to protect the interests of plant breeders. UPOV has been amended several times-in 1972, 1978 and 1991. South Africa is a Party to the 1978 UPOV agreement and its provisions are binding on the Republic. In terms of the 1978 UPOV agreement, the holder of a plant variety had a monopoly on the commercial propagation and marketing of the variety but little control over other uses. The scope of the intellectual property right protection is only in respect of production for the purposes of commercial marketing, offering for sale and marketing of propagating material of a protected variety.

Farmers were thus free to multiply seed for their own use for as long as they wished. Breeders were also free to use a protected variety to develop a new variety as long as it did not require repeated use of that variety. Farmers were also allowed to freely use their harvested material from a protected variety for any purposes.

However all of this changed dramatically when UPOV was revised in 1991, the rights of breeders strengthened and those of farmers severely curtailed.

UPOV 1991 extended the scope of a plant breeder rights’ to also include other activities such as exporting, importing and stocking of protected varieties. Breeders’ rights were also restricted in that they were no longer allowed to produce varieties that were essentially derived from a protected variety. Crucially, it allowed national governments to decide whether farmers could be allowed to reuse the harvest of protected varieties on their own landholdings without the authorisation of the rights holder. UPOV 1991 binds its members to disallow the exchange or selling of such harvested material. There is no flexibility in UPOV with regard to this restriction.

While South Africa has signed this UPOV 1991 version, it has not yet ratified it. In other words, the UPOV 1991 is not binding on South Africa and it is thus under no obligation to either implement or ratify UPOV 1991. No developing country that is a member of the 1978 UPOV agreement, including major grain exporting countries such as Brazil and Argentina, has ratified UPOV 1991.

Nevertheless, South Africa, already as far back as 1996, and in terms of amendments to the Plant Breeders Rights Act at that time, began a process of implementing some of the UPOV 1991 provisions. These relate inter alia to the restriction on farmers’ rights, particularly in regard to harvested material. The current provisions of the Plant Breeders Rights Act, namely those contained in the current section 23(6)(f) thus prohibits the exchange of harvested material and ties such harvested material to a farmer who is in occupation of land. However, farmers are allowed to use all propagating material including vegetative material for the purposes of propagation.

Proposed new law severely restricts farmers’ rights

Now, South Africa wants change to its Plant Breeders Rights Act and further restrict farmers’ rights. It has during 2011, published the Plant Breeders’ Rights Bill for comment. Stakeholder consultations are still underway and government is still open to receiving inputs and comments. Government appears to be particularly keen to engage with small farmers.

The Plant Breeders’ Rights Bill contains a new section 9, dealing with farmers rights. It continues to prohibit the exchange of protected seeds between farmers, however there are still no limits on farm saved seeds for further propagation.

The proposed provisions contained in sections 9(1)(d) and 9(2) are of crucial importance. A farmer is now restricted to only use harvested material on land occupied by him from a protected variety (as opposed to propagating material which is the current position). Propagating material has a wide definition and includes any reproductive or vegetative material of a plant that can be used for the propagation of such plant whilst maintaining the essential characteristics of the original plant. Small farmers must carefully consider that the implications are of these restrictions for them. Furthermore, the exchange of such harvested material derived from protected varieties between farmers is prohibited.

Seed that is later produced post harvest from such protected variety appears to be excluded from the provisions and may not be used for further saving, propagation and exchange.

The proposed section 9(1)(2) expressly prohibits farmers from saving, exchanging, propagating or using protected varieties of vegetatively propagated crops (which will be prescribed). Vegetatively propagated material are produced asexually and in agronomic terms, includes, apples, avocados, cannabis, citrus, date, fig, grapes, manioc, potato, strawberry, sugarcane, tea, vanilla and willow. This prohibition will have extremely far reaching implications for farmers.

Small- holder farmers need protection

The South African government argues in its 2011 Plant Breeders’ Rights Policy that as a result of the lack of a clear definitions of ‘farmer’ and scale of production and the scope of the plant varieties, the farmers privilege has been abused by commercial farmers, to such an extent that there has been a significant decrease in the investment in planting breeding and the virtual collapse of plant breeding programmes. It appears that breeders have singled our vegetatively propagated crops as a major problem.

While it is beyond the scope of this article to delve into these arguments, we do believe as a general principle, that Farmers Rights, particularly those of small- holder and subsistence farmers should be fully protected and not restricted.

The rights of small famers to save and exchange all seed and use and exchange propagating material (including seeds) between communities is in fact non-negotiable. Farmers’ Rights are crucial for ensuring present and future food security in general, and in the fight against rural poverty in particular. Farmers’ Rights are necessary prerequisites for the maintenance of crop genetic diversity, which is the basis of all food and agriculture production in the world. The protection and recognition of Farmers’ Rights will allow farmers to maintain and develop crop genetic resources as they have done since the dawn of agriculture some ten thousand years ago.

The government needs to pay special attention to the needs and interests of small-holder black farmers, particularly with regard to land tenure, land holding, communal ownership of land and generally how communities organise themselves when it comes to farming the land and the use of harvested material.

Conclusion

We urge the South African government thus to craft provisions for the recognition and protection of farmers rights. Such provisions must be clear and unambiguous and must clearly take into consideration and respond to the particular circumstances and constraints of small- holder farmers.

Plant Breeders Rights and other forms of intellectual property over plant varieties have played an enormous role in the monopolisation and control by corporations over South Africa’s food systems. South Africa must protect its small farming communities and ensure that Farmers Rights are not impeded from continuing to make a contribution to the conservation, development and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for agriculture production. We also strongly urge the South African government not to ratify UPOV 1991, which will undermine the flexibility that the government presently enjoys to give effect to the recognition and protection of Farmers Rights.

8 thoughts on “South Africa’s proposed seed laws to severely restrict Farmers’ Rights

  1. Bill Kerr says:

    Paula,

    In other words you are saying that plant breeders should just work for nothing? How are they going to survive and what incentive is there to breed if there is no reward? The old varieties are there for anyone to choose to use to grow their crops but plant breeders spend their time and expertise to make improvements and have to buy food, pay rates and taxes, bring up their children in the meantime. Then just give it all away with no reward.

    Farmers grow crops on soil which they did not create and till, fertilize, irrigate and tend to the crops which they then sell. Are they also expected to give it away rather than be rewarded for their efforts.

    Minerals from the earth have always been there and not invented by man. If one makes an innovation from these metals and patents the product, is this also so evil. Who would innovate, who would breed if there is no incentive?

    I have been breeding for about 18 years having taken my pension package to put into my breeding programme, work 80 hours a week, have no holidays or public holidays,drive a car of 630,000 km which is 24 years old, have no pension, no medical aid and hoping to make it big with my plant breeding so that when I am too old to work I will be able to survive and keep my wife.
    I am 70 years old and still working flat out in my pursuits.

    Paula, do you really begrudge me finally getting a reward from this or must I just do it for the good of human kind? All the varieties which existed before I started breeding are still there and nobody is forcing the public to buy my varieties.

    As far as GMO’s go I am very against them. Not by way of the protection that they afford the inventors, but because I believe they are a health risk. I will not willingly eat a GMO product and grow my own maize and make my own meal for this reason. Again, this is my choice as it is your choice to use the old varieties which have been around for a long time.

    Clearly, you are communist, a system which I don’t support. The free market system with the associated rewards and greed drives development and innovation. No rewards, no greed and development stagnates.

    As far as loss of diversity is concerned, this is total hogwash. Government agencies overseas send out experts all around the world to collect novel germplasm from both communities and in the natural environment for the benefit of the world community.
    This is made available for both use as such or for plant breeders to use. These repositories are constantly increasing their diversity of stocks and careful not to let any plant or variety become extinct. These stocks are kept safe in cold storage. There is no loss of diversity of plant species or genera and new varieties are constantly being added both from discovery and donation. This is an argument put forward by those with mischievous agenda’s.
    One repository alone contains about 5000 varieties of tomatoes and includes many wild species. I recently acquired 5 wild species to use in development of novel characteristics. These are made available for free in the interests of the world at large. Don’t believe all the rubbish published in newspapers.

    And by the way, you are most welcome to acquire this wild onion seed which can be obtained from a repository and see what miserable results you get with virtually no bulb forming.

    Bill

  2. Paula Osborn says:

    My question to Bill, and all corporates producing hybrids and GMO – if you believe your seed needs ‘protection’ under intellectual property rights, who did you pay for your base genetics? Seed is our common heritage, provided by our ancestors (and nature) and it was the ‘openess’ and ‘willingness’ of the sharing of ALL seed that gave us the diversity in the first place. Since the ‘greed’ and ‘copy-right’ issues crept into this practice – there has been a severe decline in the worlds’ diversity in crops. In other words ‘the protection of a few” (be it individauls or corporates) – impinges on the rights of humanity!! and our inherent right to the diversity our collective ancestors created. Why should your “right to earn” off nature and our common heritage be greater than the rights of all humanity to benefit from this heritage. Farmers should have the right to save their own seed and replant, and if they want to earn a living from the seed by sellng it on – then go for it, but you have no right to ‘patent’ this as 99% of ‘your’ onion existed long before the 1% of your selective breeding took place! It is the patents on life forms that has contributed to the whole-sale loss of our diversity.

  3. Bill Kerr says:

    If PVP varieties are afforded sufficient protection, there will indeed be more OP varieties released. Breeding of dry beans, wheat, etc will be energised again especially and perhaps some vegetables.

    My onion is gone for good. I have colour slides of it compared to the hybrid market leader at the time showing it’s superiority for the purpose.

    I have been cured and will not release an OP where I can have protection by hybridization.

    It also costs more to register a PVP variety and there is an annual fee to pay in addition.

  4. Jane Griffiths says:

    This has been a seesaw read: Bad new law – oh no, good new law. This is in a way similar to current issues revolving around music rights in the digital realm.
    Bill – in your opinion if this new law is passed, will it improve protection for you so you can release your OP onion for example and get a return on your investment? Will we see a wider variety of OP seeds being released by breeders?

  5. Bill Kerr says:

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Mostert was breeding maize when there were no hybrids around. Even though many would keep their seed, he managed to sell enough to make a living and was also farming which was a steady income.

    Professor Bosman was working for a salary when he bred the Bonsmara.

    Our government has also released a number of O.P varieties, Rodade tomato amongst many others. This variety was bred by Errol Bosch being paid a salary by the government from taxpayer money.
    He then worked for Starke Ayres where he then only released F1 hybrids. He was paid a salary from Starke Ayres to do this and they expected a return on their investment.

    I work for myself and have to eak out a living from my breeding. After 17 years of 7 days a week with no public holidays off and no leave, I am now starting to see some light with my varieties. I don’t plan to give away all my inbred varieties which I have developed over this period and then try and survive on a government pension when too old to work.

    Plant breeders should not be expected to work for nothing when all other industries are paid for their work and skills.

    When the farmer’s privilege law came out, I contacted Martin Joubert who worked for the government and had oversight as to the introduction of, and protection of PVP varieties.
    He said that both he and a colleague went to parliament to try and dissuade them from bringing out this law.

    He mentioned that it is not the poor subsistence farmer who is the problem but the large commercial farmers. They would not listen and this is precisely what has happened.

    Much fewer varieties of OP’s are now coming out and the farmer is the loser. Instead of having vastly improved varieties which he would have to buy at a slightly higher price, he now has to stick with old, inferior varieties or pay a much higher price for hybrids to benefit from the improved genetics.

    He has the choice but there is now a very wide gap between the old O.P’s and improved hybrids due to this law. It has resulted in seed companies gaining more and farmers losing out. This law has had the exact opposite effect than was intended.

    Mess with the free market system and remove intellectual property rights at your peril. What experienced and skilled person would be prepared to work his butt off and live in poverty and see his family not sufficiently provided for, just to see others getting the benefit for which they have contributed nothing?

  6. Trevor Wells says:

    I follow your argument Bill but am interested why someone like Mostert went to the trouble to breed stable purebreeds (OPV) when it would have been easier for him (and obviously more profitable) to stop at the hybrid stage.
    Why did Prof Bonsma continue to breed the purebreed Bonsmara when he could have stopped at the hybrid vigour stage?
    Are cattle farmers more discerning than maize farmers? Has it to do with transport. Many cattlefarmers deliberately produce hybrids but that is a matter of choice which it seems may be taken away from crop farmers?

  7. Bill Kerr says:

    Your perspective on this subject is skewered and will negatively the very people you which to protect.

    I am a plant breeder and had spent 12 years breeding an OP onion which was more suitable for producing sets with a much wider adaptability and suitability for this purpose. Just when I was about to register it for PBR, the law came out allowing farmers to keep their own seed even with PBR. I scrapped it and it does not even exist any more.

    Hybrids are now been used for this purpose which cost substantially more. Many breeders have stopped breeding open pollinated lines for this reason. The loser is the farmer, especially the small farmer and we now have to protect our breeding with hybrids.

    I have some stunning, highly disease resistant tomatoes which I would never release as such for this reason.

    It takes years to breed a variety with much skill and experience required to do so. All this just to give away with no protection.

    If patents were not protected in industry, how many innovations would we see? People who invent or develop new varieties are not taking away from the world but adding to it. The old varieties are still there to freely use but this legislation has now dramatically slowed down the release of new varieties which would benefit all farmers. I know this for a fact.

    Seed companies now have to protect their investment by only releasing F1 hybrids in any crop where this is possible. Where this is not possible very little further breeding and improvements will be done.

    Why is it that plant breeders are expected to work for the benefit of the community without remuneration?

    Without protection of their work, the growers become the losers.

  8. If you wrote this in layman’s English I am sure you would get widespread support. It is obviously vitally important but even someone such as myself – who was reading it with a view to writing a newspaper column about it – lost the thread a quarter of the way through. What, for example, are protected varieties? Why does this make a difference? How can laymen be expected to plough their way through what is essentially written in academic style? Is it possible to find a more succinct summing up of this issue and its implications?

Leave a Reply to Stevie Godson Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *