Expos- Exhibitions

Two major 2018 industry trade events have gained the approval of the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH).  AIPH has approved International Horticultural Exhibitions for many years but extended this to cover trade exhibitions recently with the first D Category Expo approved by AIPH in 2017.  This was Greentech, a major event for growers that will take place in RAI, Amsterdam in the Netherlands from 12-14 June 2018.  The exhibition is aimed at professionals in the horticulture industry and will include numerous educational sessions with a focus on crop production.

The second is Flormart which will take place in Padova, Italy on 19-21 September 2018.  Flormart will include exhibitors from around the world as well as growers and suppliers from Italy.  It will include conferences and seminars for all those with an interest in the horticultural supply chain.  The AIPH 70th Annual Congress will take place alongside Flormart this year, bringing a wider international audience to the event which is growing year on year.

To gain the approval of AIPH as D Category exhibitions applicant shows must demonstrate high quality organisation and strong international participation.  They must offer excellent value to visitors and high levels of care to international participants.

Join growers and industry associations from around the world at the AIPH Congress in Padova

The International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) will hold its 70th Annual Congress in Padova, Italy from 17-22 September 2018.  The Annual Congress is open to members and non-members and includes conferences, discussion, networking and professional tours that will prove highly valuable for everyone who attends.  The AIPH Annual Congress is always a very international event with delegates from all over the globe, all focused on promoting the ornamental horticulture industry.

This Congress is organised with the support of the Italian Nurserystock Exporters Association, ANVE, as well as the Flormart Trade Fair which will run alongside the Congress.  The event will incorporate an AIPH International Horticultural Expo Conference for all those involved with Expos.  There will also be an AIPH International Green City Conference to bring together experts and knowledge on urban greening from around the world.

There will be time to visit the AIPH-approved, Flormart Trade Fair and to visit premier Italian growers in the world-famous growing region of Pistoia.  Delegates will also be able to visit Venice and the fabulous Botanic Gardens in Padova.

For more information visit www.aiph.org/events/padova/

Innovations

Following up on the commitment to expand its capacities and knowledge in the field of biotech, on April 26, CIOPORA gathered more than 120 representatives of biotech research, commercial breeding and governments for a biotechnology-themed conference at ILVO Plant, Melle, Belgium. While biotech experts from the leading European research institutions delivered reports on the swiftly progressing technologies, legal specialists questioned whether contemporary IP systems could keep up with the biotech advancements by providing innovators with adequate incentives. The event served as a stage for defining the status quo both in biotech research and the surrounding regulatory matters, equally channelling the voices of science, policymakers and the industry in the search for viable solutions for the future. To provide a short recap of the event, two speakers share their thoughts on the conference’s main topics.

 Biotech: Scientist Talk

FCI: Dr. de Riek, you are the driving force behind the CIOPORA Conference on Biotechnology 2018. For you, what are the biotech trends to watch in the plant world right now?

Dr. Jan de Riek, ILVO Plant, Melle, Belgium:

The trends that emerged during the CIOPORA Conference on Biotechnology were centred around two items: the ever-expanding capacity in DNA sequencing and New Breeding Techniques.

We are observing DNA sequencing technology moving forward to the third generation and bringing high throughput and long-read sequencing within the reach of modern science. In the meantime, the sequencers have evolved from bulky machines to compact flow cells, often only the size of a flash drive. Although a handheld clip on a DNA analyser is not immediately in sight, one can start dreaming of it.

The gene editing, especially the robust CRISPR/Cas9 technology, opens the door to a directed mutagenesis, where specific mutations can be achieved by means of altering the genetic information. It appears to be a much cleaner approach than the conventional mutation breeding as only a few side-mutations should be expected in its process, which can considerably reduce the backcrossing work.

The vision for the future is that technology will be applied to knock out certain undesirable plant traits, such as the browning of apples (e.g. Arctic apples). Although very promising, some classic problems still need to be tackled to achieve precise results. To knock out a gene, it is crucial to know the specific target genes in the species concerned. Other obstacles include the availability of appropriate tissue culture techniques such as the regeneration capacity of plant protoplasts.

About: Dr Jan de Riek is the chairman of the CIOPORA Working Group Biotechnology. At ILVO, he focuses on molecular genetics and breeding research in ornamental and agricultural crops. He acquired his doctorate degree in plant biotechnology from the University of Ghent.

Biotech: Lawyer talk

FCI: Dr. Kock, in your speech at the CIOPORA Conference you mentioned that by avoiding collusion between PBR and Patents at any cost, the policy makers are crippling both systems. In your opinion, what solutions are needed to provide for equally effective protection for both new breeding techniques and the entire genomes?

Dr. Michael Kock, dr. kock consulting, Basel, Switzerland:

Today, legislators are employing two approaches to tackle the interface issues between Patents and Plant Breeders Rights: limitations to the protectable subject matter and exceptions to IP rights. This leads to solutions like the new Rule 28 (2) EPC, where the patentability of a plant is based not on its features, i.e. novelty and inventiveness, but on how it was made. This not only deviates from patent law principles but creates legal uncertainty as, in most cases, it is not possible to tell how a plant was made.

On the level of the rights, we also see a distortion to the detriment of the IPR holder, either by means of breeders’ exemption in patent laws or the currently discussed narrow definition for essentially derived varieties (EDV), which would render varieties with innovative new characteristics as non-EDV. While these limitations may be well-intended and are, at first glance, aimed at protecting future innovation, they also diminish the incentive for innovation and, therefore, are short-sighted and somewhat naïve solutions.

Instead of eroding or abandoning IP rights, efforts should be directed at turning the tide in the current IP systems from exclusivity towards inclusivity, i.e. from “exclusivity & value capture” to “access & benefit sharing”. Legislative changes should support such industry initiatives as the transparency database PINTO or the International Licensing Platform for Vegetables (ILP) with clarification of the compulsory licensing provisions, etc. This could lead to solutions which promote innovation instead of denying incentives to its pioneers.

About: Dr. Michael A. Kock is a founder of dr. kock consulting providing consulting services on Intellectual Property (IP) protection and related strategies. From 2007 to 2017, Dr. Kock headed the IP Department at Syngenta Crop Protection AG in Basel. He has a diploma in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology. He is a certified European and Swiss Patent Attorney. Dr. Kock regularly lectures on IP and has published multiple papers on IP issues in plants in peer-reviewed law journals.

 

Photo credit:  Koen Van de Moortel/defottograf.be

 

Right rewards

A fair reward to the breeders of new varieties, and the income to ensure that they can continue in their work. A level playing field for propagators and growers, with one set Plant Breeders’ Rights fee for every single plant. These are what royalty payments for vegetatively-propagated plants of a protected variety are about.

 For around 300 breeders across a wide spectrum of genera, Royalty Administration International, an international leader in its field of activity, makes the payments system work.

Based in ‘s Gravenzande in the Netherlands, and founded in 1984, RAI has branches in Colombia, Japan and the USA. Maarten Leune, managing director, joined the business in 2001, and was previously a director of a chrysanthemum breeding company. He leads a team of thirty employees altogether, working worldwide. He says that it is their expert knowledge of the trade in vegetatively-propagated ornamentals, coupled with their outstandingly wide network of contacts, that drives the success of Royalty Administration International.

The company can help breeders at every step on the way to receive the rewards of their efforts. Obtaining the grant of Plant Breeders’ Rights, advising on marketing and on setting royalty fee levels, and making licensing agreements with propagators – all these are services provided by RAI. It is currently party, on their clients’ behalf, to around 3,500 tailor-made licensing agreements.

Once Plant Breeders’ Rights have been granted for a new variety, RAI makes sure that the royalty fee fixed is paid for every plant. The company’s field representatives and agents make around 4,500 visits annually, enabling them to keep full track of all movements of material of all the varieties for which RAI has undertaken responsibility.

During a visit to a propagator or grower all records of receipt and dispatch will be inspected. So will the ongoing production on the ground, not only of what the propagator or the grower shows to the visitor, but also of activity elsewhere within the business.

The aim is of course to prevent illegal propagation, and the existence of the system of inspection exerts a very positive pressure in itself. Only in a small minority of visits is anything irregular found. When it is, very often it is found that simple mistakes have led to the incorrect reporting of dispatches, deliveries and plant numbers in production.

Around 99% of problems found are resolved on the spot, says Maarten Leune. Where there has been intent to avoid payment of royalty fees, the co-operation of the offender is sought in agreeing to accept a penalty, plus of course the full payment of the royalties due. Depending on circumstances, the destruction of stock may be enforced.

In recent years DNA fingerprinting has often resolved disputes. It is rarely necessary to enter into legal proceedings, but this is undertaken as a last resort. Breeders involved have full support from the RAI.

Quite how successful the company has been through its 34-year history is well proven by the increasing number and diversity of its clients. They range from specialist micro-breeders working on a single species to large companies with a wide range of breeding activities. Clients’ portfolios embrace cut flowers, pot and bedding plants, perennials, shrubs, bulbs, vegetables and fruit. Chrysanthemum is commercially the most significant of all, with almost all major breeders of the flower represented by Royalty Administration International.

Author John Sutton

BREXIT Parties

It took a year after the official triggering of Article 50 before we learned how Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) may be affected by Brexit from the partially finalized agreement establishing a framework for the entire Brexit process. Yet today, we are still far from having a complete picture. As a summary of the Brexit-themed report released earlier this spring by CIOPORA to its members, the present article provides an overview of the IPR-related aspects of the UK–EU “break-up story”.

On March 19, 2018, the delegations of the EU and the UK published a draft version of the Withdrawal Agreement (WA). With some minor exceptions, most of the provisions referring to IPR have been agreed upon at the negotiators’ level, with only minor technical legal changes yet to come.

Dates to mark on your calendar.

One of the most important provisions of the WA is the establishment of the Transition Period which will begin on March 29, 2019 and end on December 31, 2020. During this period, the UK will formally cease to be a part of the EU, albeit the EU laws will remain in force and will continue to be applicable on its territory. Regarding the Plant Breeders Rights (PBR), the draft WA foresees that after December 31 all existing Community Plant Variety Rights (CPVR) will, without any re-examination, become comparable registered and enforceable UK PVR titles.

As to the pending applications, a CPVR applicant will have an ad hoc right of priority in the UK during the period of six months after the end of the transition period, while the date of priority of their CPVR application will be treated as the date of their PBR application in the UK.

Best case scenario.

For instance, if a breeder applies for a CPVR in September 2018 for a variety which was first sold outside of the EU in November 2014, theoretically, it will give them time until June 30, 2021, to submit an application before the UK PBR office without losing novelty. In such a case, the usual novelty period of four years (for most varieties) foreseen by the UK regulation will be extended to six-and-a-half years.

Don’t count your chickens.

Now, let’s have a look at another possible case scenario. A breeder files an application before the CPVO in one of the last months of the transition period, i.e. from July to December 2020. In this case, it remains unclear whether the applicant is entitled to a one year priority claim according to the UK PVP Act or whether the six month period provided by the WA prevails. Common sense suggests that the longer term should apply, however, applicants should not count their chickens until the WA is signed.

Further dilemmas.

Another aspect to consider is exhaustion of the right. Should the UK leave the European Economic Area, there is a possibility that the UK might abandon the system of regional exhaustion and come back to the system of national exhaustion instead.

Furthermore, as announced by the CPVO, after the WA enters into force, the UK offices will no longer be entrusted with DUS examinations affecting over 650 species that to the present are exclusively examined by the UK-based institutions. Despite the CPVO’s efforts, only half of these botanical taxa could by now be entrusted to other European examination offices. Again, it remains unclear whether the CPVO will continue taking over DUS reports from the UK examination offices after the end of the transition period.

Although the guarantee of CPVR title recognition provided by the WA is encouraging, there are still a number of issues that parties on both sides of the Channel have yet to tackle. At CIOPORA, we shall continue to closely monitor this process to guarantee an agreement that provides for a smooth transition and protection of breeders’ rights after the Brexit.

 Author: Micaela Filippo

CIOPORA

China is a rapidly growing market for plant breeders and the industry is just beginning to discover its true potential. With a government policy in place to modernize agriculture and a shift towards larger scale farming models, we can expect to see more and more demand from China for foreign plant varieties. At the same time, movement to more sophisticated farming models makes the Chinese market increasingly attractive. When it comes to IP, a well thought-out strategy is a must for foreign breeders operating in, or looking to enter, the Chinese market. This article highlights some points to get you started on your China IP checklist.

Protectable genera and species

At the time of writing, China offers Plant Variety Rights (PVR) protection for 344 genera and species. The Ministry of Agriculture lists 138 genera and species for protection while the State Forestry Administration lists 206. The respective lists are published on each department’s website and new varieties are periodically added to these lists.

The scope of the right

PVR in China attaches to the propagating material of the variety and covers the acts of propagation, production, sale and repeated use to produce propagating material of another variety for commercial purposes. Propagating material is broadly defined to include the whole plant and any part of the plant for forest crops and plant material or other parts of the plant that can be propagated for agricultural crops. Applying these definitions, it would follow that for some crops the scope of the right attaches to flowers and even fruits.

A farmers’ exemption is provided which allows ‘nongmin’ to self-propagate, self-use the propagating material of protected varieties without obtaining permission from or paying royalties to the breeder. The term nongmin directly translates into English as “rural person” but  is more often translated as “peasant” which suggests that the farmers’ exemption has a limited scope and does not generally apply to all engaged in farming. However, the exact scope is unclear and remains open to  interpretation for farmers of significant scale in terms of fruit and ornamental crops.

Some notable developments:

  • As of 1 April 2017, the Chinese PVR offices cancelled all official fees for PVP applications.
  • In 2018, the UPOV PRISMA online application tool has become available for lettuce and rose variety applications in China which includes a translation function of application data.
  • There are now three specialized intellectual property (IP) courts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou and 15 specialized IP tribunals across various provinces, responsible for PVR matters within their respective territorial jurisdictions.

Objectives for horticulture moving forward

Intellectual Property and Plant Variety Protection are developing quickly in China and conceptions about the impossibility of protecting and enforcing IP are now quite outdated. However, there is still room for improvement, especially for fruit and ornamental crops. In particular, the industry would like to see the following:

  • opening protection to all species and genera
  • clear application of the right to harvested material directly and per se, or otherwise in line with the application to harvested material under UPOV 1991
  • removal of the farmers’ exemption from vegetatively propagated fruit and ornamental crops
  • introduction of an essentially derived variety (EDV) concept where all mutants and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are deemed to be EDVs.

There has been talk about revision of China’s PVR regulations for some time. However, a number of developments, including the elevation of a number of PVR provisions into the recently amended Seed Law and advocacy from the seed industry during the Two Sessions (两会) meeting earlier this year, suggest that a new PVR law in China may be imminent.

CIOPORA will continue to closely monitor these developments and share information with the Chinese government about the requirements of breeders of vegetatively reproduced ornamental and fruit varieties.

 

Author: Alanna Rennie

Quito

That very combination of words describes a land where some of the most beautiful Roses are born, raised and shipped.

The physical attributes of Quito make it one of the perfect places in the world to grow the very best large roses and other floral products as well. Situated at nearly 10,000 (9,350’) above sea level the sunlight is intense, and the temperature is just right for growing roses.

Ecuador entered the flower business about ten years after the Colombians who proved that growing and exporting flowers was a viable enterprise. They took the best techniques and practices learned from their competitors across the border and ended up being the second largest producer in South America.

Quito is a beautiful city surrounded by approx. 50 volcanos. 7 are still active and occasionally raise their voices for all the world to hear.

A curious thing about Ecuador is that the national currency is the US dollar making it easy for Americans to travel there.

The Ecuadorian growers from the very beginning focused on large headed roses and the very newest varieties on the market. This paved the way for exports to mainly Russia and Europe where these huge flowers could demand a handsome price. This prosperous market allowed the floral entrepreneurs of Quito to expand rapidly and grow they did.

As many are now aware, the Russian market changed for the worse in 2008 leaving the Ecuadoreans scrabbling to find new markets. The North American market which had grown very comfortable with Colombian Roses was the likely target for Quito growers.

As a result, the Ecuadorean growers started showing up at events catering to the US market looking for new territory. The growers have had to adjust to this market as the Americans were not so accustomed to the baseball sized heads of these roses and the high price needed to secure them.

With that said, many Ecuadorean growers have made their mark on the US/Canadian markets despite an additional 6% Import duty specifically on roses (into the US).

The Ecuadoreans have been trying to outgrow their Colombian counter parts and this year the Ecuadorean Floral Association Expoflores has decided to host their own floral show in Quito

“Flor Ecuador”. This show is a new event that is a spinoff from the Agriflor show held there for the last 15 years hosted by HPP.

With two shows to attend this year there will be a great deal of activity surrounding these events during the month of September.

The growers in Quito and the surrounding areas have made great progress in sustainability and environmental controls which have turned many a grower into a mad scientist cooking up herbal concoctions in their labs to reduce the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

The floral landscape in Quito is a fluid one where the big growers are getting bigger by acquiring farms that could not manage to stay afloat. Like many industries growers must continue to improve operations and be super-efficient or as the saying goes “get big or go home”.

Author: William Armellini

Ecuador

Historically, Ecuador has been a country with a reasonable level of plant variety protection and a court system that provided a reasonable basis for the enforcement of IP rights.

The legal basis for the protection of plant varieties is Decision 345 which dates back to 1997. This decision creates a system of plant variety protection for the countries of the Andean Community (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela). Decision 345 provides for the national implementation of the Andean rules with the incorporation of the essential elements of the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention (even though formally Ecuador has so far chosen to accede only to the 1978 Act).

Under Decision 345 plant varieties could be registered with the IEPI: Instituto Ecuatoriano de la Propiedad Intelectual (Ecuadorian Institute of Intellectual Property). However, as part of efforts to “update” the IP regime in Ecuador, a Presidential Decree has been issued which renames the Ecuadorian Institute of Intellectual Property to the National Service for Intellectual Rights. It is unclear whether the name change is good news for breeders.

New IP laws

Since 2016 Ecuador has become a worrisome territory when it comes to the protection of plant varieties. In December 2016, a new set of IP laws entered into force: the “Code for the Social Economy of Knowledge, Creativity and Innovation”, published on December 9, 2016. This code repeals and replaces Ecuador’s previous national intellectual property law.

Some legal commentators have claimed that the new laws are not decisive in regard to the protection of intellectual property because as a member of the Andean Community, Ecuador continues to be bound by the relevant Andean rules, such as Andean Decisions 345 in respect to plant varieties. These Andean rules, in addition to other treaties and international conventions on IP to which Ecuador adheres, would take precedence over local law.

National level

Nevertheless, on a national level, Ecuador now has legislation which aims to primarily protect the national interests and the local workforce in the plant industry and may be considered fairly extraordinary from an international IP perspective:

  • Plant variety rights in regard to varieties developed under contract belong to the employer. However, a breeder who is involved in the creation of a new variety and who works on the basis of an employment contract is entitled to a percentage of ownership no less than 25%.
  • Even workers who are not specifically contracted to exercise intellectual activity for obtaining breeders’ rights created under an employment relationship, may qualify to obtain co-ownership of PVRs.
  • Under the new code, the term of protection for a national PVR is reduced to 8 years in the case of vines, as well as forest, fruit and ornamental trees, and to only 15 years for all other varieties.
  • The new Code provides for increased options for obtaining compulsory licenses, which may be granted for reasons of public interest, emergency or national security. The idea is that this would lead to a broadened scope for compulsory licensing. Even though compulsory licensing should lead to equitable compensation for the breeder/rights holder, this option for growers and breeders is expected to weaken the protection afforded to new varieties of plants.

Memorandum of Understanding

With the goal of working towards an improved utilization, protection and enforcement of IP rights, Ecuador entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United States in 2017. The MOU is meant to serve as a basis for cooperative activities between the two countries but it is doubtful whether this objective can be met.

In addition, enforcement of IP against widespread counterfeiting and piracy remains weak. Ecuador also lacks effective measures to deter illegal growing of protected varieties. Regarding the Organic Code on Social Economy of Knowledge, Creativity, and Innovation (Ingenuity Code), Ecuador is reportedly in the process of developing and implementing regulations. Stakeholders have raised concerns about how these regulations will address issues, such as the scope of certain exceptions and limitations to protectable subject matter. Another area that has considerably weakened is the combat of widespread counterfeiting and piracy. Therefore, the country needs to make greater efforts to improve its IP enforcement procedures, to provide for customs enforcement on an ex officio basis and to promote more effective means of securing ex parte seizures.

Author: Tjeerd Overdijk

South America

The South American continent is more than 7500 kms long (north to south) and 5100 kms wide at its widest point. The highest mountain (Aconcagua) is almost 7000 meters above sea level. You’ll find almost all climates in South America, from desert to permafrost. It is, therefore, the optimal place to grow all types of flowers. However, only two countries have a fully developed floral industry: Colombia and Ecuador, respectively the second and third exporting countries in the world, which in the last few years, together with Kenya and Ethiopia, have eroded substantial market share from the Netherlands.

 Though there are plenty of flower shops and stands around Bogota and Quito, floral production is geared towards export.

As with all export markets, including the floral market, there are many factors that influence the health of the industry and the sum of these factors has contributed to the success of these countries.

If you consider the proximity to consumer markets, you will understand why Colombia was the first South American floral market to develop. The United States is nearby and has a well-developed market. Additionally, the abundance of frequent flights to Europe are an important asset.

Local conditions are another important factor in explaining why Ecuador, with its seemingly eternal spring, is perfect for growing roses and many ‘summer flowers’.

Both local and worldwide economies also play a crucial role for South American growers as witnessed by the substantial revenue loss during the economic crisis.

What about politics? This can influence the reciprocal relationship between both importing and exporting countries. For example, an agreement on duty-free export often correlates to a sizeable competitive advantage in the global marketplace. In the past few years, rose exports from Ecuador to the USA were hit hard when Julian Assange was granted asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador in London in 2012 and when  Edward Snowden requested asylum in 2013.

Another factor is the exchange rate which can change suddenly from one day to the next. If you had visited the Ecuadorian rose farms a few years ago, you would have seen that the longest, biggest and top-quality roses were reserved for Russian clients. When the Russian rouble suddenly dropped, many growers found themselves in big trouble and had to change their production to a lower quality product.

South America has increasingly become an important market for breeding companies, whether they sell  directly or through representatives, not only due to the issue of plant breeder’s rights, but also for testing new varieties. Columbia and Ecuador also have powerful Grower’s Associations (Asocolflores and FlorEcuador) with substantial lobbying influence on their governments.

However, even with all of these positive factors, poor weather can heavily influence production which occurred in March 2017 in Ecuador.

What about other South American countries? They are not amongst the top export countries for several reasons: either the majority of their production is for domestic consumption, or their agriculture is not fully developed. In some cases, they simply have weak relations with high consumption countries.

Lastly, we would like to acknowledge the Holambra municipality in the Campinas region in Brazil where a small group of Dutch immigrants from the Brabant region founded a community immediately after World War II. They are now the leading flower producers and exporters in Brazil.

 

Author: Aldo Colombo

CIOPORA PBR Overview

Amid the ever-growing global demand for plant varieties with improved traits and tapping into new production territories, the return on investment for plant breeders still falls short in many places in the world. As the only organization representing ornamental and fruit breeders worldwide, in regard to their Intellectual Property (IP), CIOPORA provides an account herein of the IP flash points around the world closely monitored by the organization.

China is the number one growing market for ornamentals and fruits. With a soaring consumption in the domestic market, Chinese producers are steadily improving their technical capacities to meet demand. However, the deficit of new and improved varieties prevents China from fully unfolding its enormous potential in horticulture. The Chinese government understands the need to provide better incentives in the form of enhanced IP protection to breeders in order to attract such varieties to the market and has been discussing ways to improve the national PBR regime. For some time now, CIOPORA has been supporting this process in China by sharing its views on the specific IP needs of vegetatively reproduced varieties including such solutions as a tailored application of the farmers´ exemption, stronger EDV concept and effective enforcement tools. Unless the breeders’ rights are effectively protected, plant innovators will continue to tread cautiously when it comes to commercialization of innovative plant products in China.

India is another vast market seeking modern plant varieties. Facing the need to protect the interests of ca. 700 million mainly small, subsistence farmers, the Indian Government finds itself in a tight spot when it comes to amendments of its 2001 Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers´ Rights Act. In March 2018, CIOPORA met with Indian officials and industry representatives advising on the tailored solutions for ornamental and fruit crops. Similar to China, the key PBR solutions in India include a balanced application of the farmers’ exemption, the establishment of an effective system of PBR enforcement, as well as a considerable expansion of the currently very limited list of protected species and genera. The latter also raises doubts as to India’s compliance with Article 27 (3) (b) of the TRIPS agreement, which requires the WTO members to provide effective IP protection for all plant varieties.

Shifting focus from Asia to Latin America, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico are at the forefront of global fruit and, to a lesser extent, ornamental production. Nevertheless, the PBR laws in these countries remain on the level of UPOV 1978, even though the states are parties to bilateral and multilateral agreements requiring their accession to UPOV 1991. Over the past few years, we have been witnessing a significant push by their contracting partners, including the US Government, toward the improvement of their respective domestic IP and PBR regimes. CIOPORA shares information with these countries on the minimum content of IP Protection according to UPOV 1991 and continuously stresses the benefits of tailored solutions for vegetatively reproduced crops.

On the African continent, Egypt, Ethiopia and South Africa are major horticulture players not providing for the highest standards when it comes to protection of plant innovations. While Egypt, majoring in fruit, is currently revising its PBR law to adhere to the international standard, the second largest rose producer on the continent, Ethiopia, having no PBR regime in place, is increasingly raising concerns among rose breeders.

CIOPORA considers a level playing field, in terms of IP protection for plant varieties, a crucial precondition for a fair global trade. We firmly believe that once improved, PBR will cease to be a hurdle and might, as well, become an effective tool for unleashing the full potential of the world’s horticulture.

Author: Dr. Edgar Krieger, Secretary General of CIOPORA

Exhibitions and Expos

There is no better way to convince people of how plants can improve their lives than by showing them. Since the 1950s the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) has been responsible for approving International Horticultural Exhibitions that do just that – demonstrate how plants can change your life. There is an International Convention Relating to International Exhibitions and according to this if a country would like to organise an International Horticultural Exhibition, to which other countries are invited to participate through diplomatic channels, then the approval of AIPH is required.

Perhaps the most well-known of these Exhibitions is the Floriade that takes place every ten years in the Netherlands.  Enthusiasm for such expos has continued to grow, with millions of people visiting expos hosted all over the world. Recent successes over the last few years have included horticultural expos in Antalya, Turkey (2016), Tangshan, China (2016), Qingdao, China (2014) and Suncheon, Korea (2013). AIPH has already approved several more expos between now and 2024 as can be seen on the Exhibition Calendar on the AIPH website.  The overall number of visitors at these events is expected to exceed 30 million people in total, with billions of dollars being spent on developing these international spectacles, that can have the ability to stimulate the development of whole cities and transform the international reputation of hosting locations.

Each expo lasts for 6 months, with sites ranging from 50 to 500 hectares in size. Each one is carefully regulated, steered and monitored by AIPH. There are also shorter duration flower shows and trade fairs approved by AIPH.

There are two such expos coming very soon. November 2018 will see the opening of the 2018 Taichung World Flora Expo in Chinese Taipei.  The Expo will cover four locations in the city and is expected to attract over 8 million visitors.  The theme of the Expo is ‘Re-discover GNP – Green, Nature, People’ and international participants will be present to show horticulture from around the world.  The Expo will be an amazing event in itself but is also helping to transform the city of Taichung into an even greener city.

April 2019 will see the opening of Expo 2019 Beijing in China.  Without doubt this will be the largest International Horticultural Expo there has ever been with an area over 500 hectares and the expectation of more than 15 million visitors during the six months in which it will be open.  As an A1 Expo this will include official participation from over 100 countries.  The theme is ‘Live Green, Live Better’ and it is expected to create a new benchmark for these events.

During its most recent meeting in March this year in Melbourne, AIPH approved two further Expos; an A1 Expo in Łódź, Poland for 2024 and a C category Expo, Floralies Internationales Nantes, France for 2019.  The theme for the Expo in Łódź will be ‘Nature of the City’ and the event will play a key role in transforming this city, with a heavily industrial past, into a greener and more liveable city for the future.  The Floralies in Nantes is a long established short-term exhibition and is welcoming applications to participate right now.

FCI will share more about these and other similar Expos in coming editions as cities around the world embrace the potential to define themselves with ‘living green’.

For more information visit www.aiph.org.