(Photo: Lorena Basso, chairman of ASA addressing the audience in the 70th anniversary of the association)
Buenos Aires, December 18, 2019. The Argentine Seed Association (ASA) celebrated this Monday its first seventy years of life. More than 250 people were present at the conference hall of the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange where the meeting took place.
“Seed companies invest each year nine percent of their income in research and development, seeking to add value to the food chain. Incorporation of biotechnology, molecular markers, and gene-editing offers new opportunities. Good examples of this are the corn hybrids and the soybean varieties that changed and enhanced the productive matrix of our country”, the new chairman of the ASA, Lorena Basso said addressing to the audience.
She remarked that plant breeding activity involves more than 115,000 employees throughout the country, “from field workers to scientists and technicians with local and international recognition”.
But the seed industry suffers the lack of a strong framework of intellectual property rights. The latest reports from the Seed National Institute (INASE) show that in the last years, the volume of certified soybean seed has dropped dramatically. Currently, less than 25% of the soybean area is planted with certified seed. This lead to lower investment in R+D than other soybean countries like the US or Brazil.
The past government failed to prepare a new plant breeders act and their four years of government finally concluded without an amendment of the law, which dates from 1973.
“Argentina needs a new plant breeders act, a modern, overcoming and with a future perspective, that brings competitiveness to the country and their farmers”, Lorena Basso added. Basso said that seed companies interact with agronomy colleges, public R+D institutions and other seed associations in the region.