(Photo: Dumont from Bayer, Labourt from Corteva, Secretary Etchevehere, chief cabinet Del Solar, Portis from BASF and Aracre from Syngenta talked about the parlamentarian agenda)
Buenos Aires, June 10th. Remaining only six months to conclude the Mauricio Macri’s presidency (until now is not clear if he will be re-elected) and a new Plant Breeders Act is still waiting for the sanction at the House of Representatives, previous to pass for its debate in the Senate.
But representatives, both from the official coalition Cambiemos as from the opponent Peronism party, are full engaged with the electoral campaigns in their provinces, and Congress activity is virtually equal to zero.
Plant breeders, especially those focused on soybean and wheat, have been claiming for years for a reform of the old Plant Breeders Act 20.247, dated from 1973. They argue that the broad “farmer privilege” included in the law has permitted that large farm companies and farmers save seeds and, not only this, but in fact to act as multipliers of the original seed. They say to everyone who want to ear, that only 20% of the soybean national area is planted with certified seed.
But if seed companies were expecting that Cambiemos Administration quick impulse a reform of the law, they were wrong. Never the Government sent a reform project to the Congress in its mandate. Just last year, two congressman from the governmental coalition took the matter by their own hands, and reached the approval from the commissions involved in the bill.
However, they failed to bring the bill to the plenty session, and therefore it remainded for its treatment during 2019, an electoral year.
Some sources at the Congress consulted by eFarmNewsAr believe that it’s too hard that the bill be treated in the remainder of the year, due to the electoral agenda.
But companies seem not willing to lower its arms. A few weeks ago, local CEOs of the seed global companies met the AgroIndustry Secretary Luis Miguel Etchevehere and its cabinet chief and a frank supporter of the reform, Santiago del Solar, to discuss the issue.
Gustavo Portis from BASF, Christophe Dumont from Bayer, Axel Labourt from Corteva and Antonio Aracre from Syngenta addressed that Seeds and Agrochemicals legal frameworks were the matters to treat.
“The message is clear”, a parliamentarian source told to eFarmNewsAr. “All the giants are aligned on the intellectual property rights issue. I’m talking about East Asia, Europe and the US, and perhaps this make the Government to react”, he added.
But also Stine Seeds president, Myron Stine, met President Macri when he visit Argentina in early April and address him about the IPRs and the necessity of a reform of the law
The parliamentarian window to eventually treat the law is very, very narrow. It extend from this week to first half of July, before the winter break, and then from August 1st to August 22nd, when primaries start.
Our source thinks that it`s probable that Government try to include the project in the legislative agenda, but they will have to deal with an increasing difficult: the Peronism party appears now more united in an opponent position, and probably it costs the officialism a lot to gather its own representatives.
If finally the bill don’t be treated, seed companies will have to wait until electoral process concludes and a new camera start to discuss the reform once again.