(Photo: Representative Atilio Benedetti (right) joined President Macri at the beginning of the year to agree a Parliamentarian agenda that included the reform of the Seed Act)
Buenos Aires, December 3rd. The local seed industry adds a new frustration: the calling for extraordinary sessions in the Parliament doesn’t include the law to reform the current Plan Breeders Act.
Last November 13th, the chairman of the Agricultural and Livestock Committee, representative Atilio Benedetti, had reached the positive votes from his colleagues of the coalition party Cambiemos to pass the project that limits the “farmer’s privilege”, i.e. the exemption to the plant breeders rights, that permit farmers to saved seed from one season to the next without paying royalties.
Near to the close of the ordinary period sessions (that concluded past November 30th), the expectation in the seed industry was that President Macri includes the project in the calling to extraordinary sessions, in the current December month. But, as the weekly report from RIA Consultores explained, the official coalition party didn’t collect the necessary votes from the opposition to pass the law to the Senate. Hence, the parliamentarian leadership of Cambiemos decided do not include the project in the agenda proposed to President Macri.
Now, the project must wait to the 2019 ordinary sessions that start March 1st. But 2019 is an electoral year, when coalition Cambiemos will do all possible to hold the control of the Government, beating its rival from Peronism party, including the possible challenger and former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
Since 2019 is an electoral year, it is expected a low activity in the Parliament. Representatives and Senators will be drived to the political campaign and the sessions will be only the necessaries.
A reform of the current Plant Breeders Act that dates from 1973 is crucial to attract new investment. In fact, for a company like Bioceres, that develops biotechnological traits and is looking for funding in the capital markets, a new legal scheme that assures the royalties payment to its developments, via enforcing the intellectual property rights, is a key and vital issue.
But other players in the farming chain don’t agree with the reform, like the Agrarian Federation (FAA) that represent small and familiar farmers in the country. They say that the reform is impulsed by largest and global seed and biotechnological companies to take the grip of the seed market.