Plant variety protection

Within seed sector transformation, an enabling environment supporting the investment in new varieties is crucial. Plant breeders rights (PBR) is one of the mechanisms to promote such private and public investments. Nigeria is currently in the process in setting up such a system.

Plant variety protection (PVP) gives breeders intellectual property rights over a new plant variety, with exclusive rights to commercialize seed and/or propagation material of the variety. PVP promotes the marketing of new varieties and allows breeders to earn back the considerable costs incurred in the long process of variety development.

A well-functioning PVP system encourages in-country breeding activities; it also attracts foreign companies to introduce high-quality improved varieties, knowing that others cannot easily reproduce and take advantage of their investments in variety development. Nigeria is in the process of passing the PVP Bill. Once passed, the country must put considerable effort in the development and operationalization of a functional PVP system and work on appropriate enforcement mechanisms.

NASC, breeders and seed companies give high priority to its operationalization. Sector-wide understanding and ownership is crucial for PVP to result in the availability of better varieties for farmers.

Topic vision

  • In five years, the PVP Bill has passed; PVP regulations have been approved; PVP office and DUS testing facilities established and operational; an increased number of varieties registered and protected by Plant Breeders’ Rights.
  • In ten years, a PVP system is functional; a significant number of new varieties registered and protected by plant breeders’ rights on a yearly basis; significantly increased entry of new plant varieties into the country; both public and private domestic breeders protect their varieties; both public organizations and companies gain financial resources for their investments in variety development.

Strategic innovation pathway (SIP)

This pathway is presented in the NSRM. The pathway is essentially an agreed set of steps which see partners collaborate and progress the sector from its current status and challenges, through a process of catalytic innovation towards the stated topic ambition(s):

  1. Lobby for approval of the Plant Variety Protection Bill
  2. Develop the PVP regulations; design the set-up of a practical, cost-effective, reliable and digitally serviced PVP system, from application to the granting of plant breeders’ rights.
  3. Support the implementation of the PVP system, including the establishment of a PVP office and facilities for testing for distinctiveness, uniformity and stability (DUS); engage in human and operational capacity development of staff of involved organizations (partly foreseen to be covered through CSP).
  4. Create awareness and ensure ownership in PVP with seed sector stakeholders at all levels; address relevant issues such as the benefits of PVP, and the link between PVP, the seed law and variety release modalities.