SAA Technical Working Groups meetings 2024

The classic SAA face-to-face closed working group meetings were held in Lima Peru on September 27-28. These meetings of colleagues from the seed industry provided an opportunity for key discussions and insights on phytosanitary matters, intellectual property rights, biotechnology and plant breeding innovation, and seed treatments.

The meeting of the Phytosanitary working group, with almost 40 participants from different countries of the Americas, addressed, among other issues, communication with National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs) and Regional Plant Protection Organizations (RPPOs), as well as the evaluation of national seed associations, where proposals for improvement were made.

The agenda of the closed session included the review and progress of the topics that this group has been dealing with and reflections on SAA’s relationship with the national and regional phytosanitary regulatory organizations. During the open session, issues of concern to the industry on seed movement were shared with representatives of regulators from the region (SENASA-Peru and SAG-Chile).

This working group has been together since 2018, following the adoption of the International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) No. 38 on International Movement of Seeds. It has worked on several key issues for the industry considered in this standard in order to facilitate seed trade and that efforts are focused on having it adopted by all NPPOs in the Americas.

The working group on intellectual property and molecular markers reviewed the situation in the countries and the outlook of the regulatory frameworks for intellectual property (IP) and plant variety protection (PVP). It also covered updates on certain UPOV topics from the industry’s perspective, such as confidentiality and ownership of molecular information, new developments in parental lines, harvested material and essentially derived varieties (EDVs).

There were presentations on topics of interest: Diego Risso, coordinator of the working group, gave a presentation on small holder farmers; Euroseeds and ISF gave an update on their respective IP working groups; and UPOV gave an update on its agenda and activities.

Member countries had the opportunity to present their experiences with enforcement and royalty collection systems, and also shared information on molecular marker projects.

The following day, the SAA working group on biotechnology and plant breeding innovation analyzed the global situation of gene editing development, especially the situation in Europe and Africa, two continents that are showing a certain openness to the development of regulations to allow the use of these innovative technologies.

The challenges posed by the implementation of the regulations in force in each country of the Americas were also discussed. This is a key issue as it allows us to identify differences between countries and suggest measures to help facilitate their implementation, seeking to emulate those that were successful, such as in Argentina, Brazil and Colombia.

This SAA working group brings together the efforts of the region’s industry to promote the development of new technologies, not only in the Americas, but also at international level, and participates in global negotiations with the International Seed Federation (ISF) and other stakeholders throughout the value chain.

Gene editing is an extremely important technological leap that is already having an impact on the entire seed industry and is a unique opportunity to seek solutions to the problems of agrifood security, complementing this with possible mitigations to the impact of climate change.

Communication issues are of great importance, one of the objectives of this working group is how to disseminate applied science. With the commitment of the entire industry, the SAA hopes to promote the continued development of gene editing throughout the region.

On the other hand, the working group on seed treatments once again demonstrated the importance of applied seed technologies for SAA associations and stakeholders. Participants had the opportunity to share experiences and present new technologies that are coming to the market.

APESemillas, as the host organization, presented the seed market in Peru and the tremendous opportunity the country offers for those who plan to produce or multiply different types of seeds. The other national seed associations then had the opportunity to share the activities developed so far in their respective countries and their agendas for the rest of the year.

Commitment to the environment is one of SAA’s pillars. In this sense ABRASEM (the Brazilian Seed and Seedlings Association) presented a first draft on which it is working to help the Brazilian authorities with the regulations on the disposal of empty bags of treated seeds, and ANAPROSE (Uruguay’s National Seed Association) gave an update on effluent management and disposal in professional seed treatment facilities in Uruguay.

The International Seed Federation (ISF) shared an update on the innovation group and how the organization interacts with European stakeholders, as well as how they could work as a team and be aligned to take the seed business to the highest standards.

Continuing in the area of innovation, an update on biologicalss was provided by companies, who forecast a three-fold market growth in 10 years (2017 to 2027).

ASA (the Argentine Seed Producers Association) showed how the growth of professional seed treatment plants in Argentina can boost the use of legal seed and increase value capture for genetic innovation.

Seeds Canada and the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), conducted a dynamic breakout session on “Why Treat Seed”, which gave participants a great opportunity to go back to basics and reinforce how important this technology is and will increasingly become for growers at the top of the innovation pyramid.

Finally, the Seed Treatment working group built the agenda for the next two years, in which the interaction with officials and regulatory authorities will be a priority, as well as the increased adoption of this technology in Latin America and facilitating access, exchange and interaction between the National Seed Associations members of the SAA.

Previously, the Board of Directors held its annual meeting on Tuesday, September 26. One of the highlights of this encounter, was the incorporation of Guatemala as ordinary member of the SAA, and Ecuador’s change from observer member to ordinary member. We are happy to welcome these two countries to our association.

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