Successful discussions on the management of old vegetables varieties on 27/09
On 27/09, economic and institutional stakeholders met to review the regulatory components for marketing old vegetable varieties via lists a, b, c and d, and to discuss the proposed regulatory adaptations. This included a visit of official field trials at GEVES’s Brion station. The new Agriculture and Food law states that varieties intended exclusively for amateurs no longer need to be registered. Nevertheless, the stakeholders attending this meeting continued their discussions with a view to making a wide variety of vegetable varieties available to all gardeners with an optimal guarantee of varietal identity.
At the initiative of the CTPS Vegetable Section, around thirty stakeholders involved in releasing old vegetable varieties (without a known breeder) met to review the regulatory procedures for registering and maintaining old vegetable varieties in the Official French Catalogue. This brought together a wide variety of economic actors and institutional actors (GEVES, GNIS, UFS). A specific focus was placed on lists c and d which were created in 2012 in France following a European directive and a French experiment which has been in place since 1997 (annex register of old varieties for amateurs). With 260 old varieties listed in lists a and b, and 300 varieties listed in list d, France is the leading EU country for providing EU market gardeners with such diversity. The discussions on 27/09 demonstrated the interest of stakeholders in maintaining such diversity for professional or amateur users.
GEVES presented a section of the new Agriculture and Food law which states that it is no longer compulsory to register varieties intended exclusively for amateurs. The majority of participants had not been aware of this regulatory development. Nonetheless, they expressed an interest in maintaining and developing the listing of a large number of varieties in the Official French Catalogue mainly due to the dual use of a majority of these varieties (market gardeners and gardeners). However, following this event the Constitutional Council has declared that it is unconstitutional to allow the possibility of not having to register varieties belonging to the public domain and intended exclusively for amateurs.
On 27/09, a reminder of the regulatory components for registering older varieties (without a known breeder) was presented and proposals were discussed for adaptation after 6 years of experience with lists c and d. They will also be discussed at the CTPS Section meeting on 14/12/2018.
Lastly, a visit to the DUS field trials (red beet, chicory, broccoli cabbage, head and non-headed leafy cabbage, cauliflower and lettuce) illustrated the discussions in the room and the principle of conservative breeds or races was discussed. A race is a conservative breed allowed by Directive 2002/55 only for varieties known before July 1970 (beet “Détroit 2”, carrot “Nantes Améliorée 2”, etc.). Seed companies are allowed to distribute races of an old variety under two conditions: the company must be recognised as the official maintainer of the old variety and the labelling of the breed on the seed bag must use a font which is no bigger than the name of the old variety of origin.