A farmer in the east of the country has agreed to a settlement for unpaid royalties due on their farm saved seed, the Plant Variety Development Office (PVDO) has said.

The PVDO added that the farmer agreed to pay all royalties on cereal seed sown in a number of years, along with the legal costs incurred.

The case, taken under plant variety rights legislation, was settled before it was to be heard in the circuit court last week.

Penalties under the legislation for evasion of royalties or misdeclaration include payment of monies owed, legal costs and a fine of up to €5,000.

This legislation is enforceable by the PVDO and the Department of Agriculture in this country.

Plant breeder income

The PVDO said plant breeders across Europe depend on income from seed royalties and that income is legally protected under legislation on plant reproductive material, plant variety rights and farm-saved seed legislation.

“Farmers depend on new varieties, which are bred continuously by plant breeders to provide growers with crops that increase yield and can cope more effectively with diseases, pests, drought and other impacts of climate change,” it added.

Farmers should note the sale, purchase or trade in any form of uncertified seed is illegal.

Certified seed must only be sourced from an official seed merchant or, in the case of farm-saved seed, it can only be seed from a farmer’s own holding.

Its use must be declared and royalties must be paid on it.