UK joins world treaty to share vital plant resources
Vital food crops will be protected worldwide under a new international agreement which comes into force today.
The UK is one of more than 50 countries committed to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which aims to improve food security and promote sustainable farming.
The treaty aims to ensure that plant genetic resources, which are the property of the country in which they are found, are conserved, used sustainably, and that their benefits are shared fairly.
The UK will now grant access to seeds and genetic materials from essential human and animal food crops such as maize, peas, bananas, wheat and barley.
Benefits from the use of these plant materials, such as improved varieties, technical knowledge or commercial benefits will be shared with the countries granting access. Developed and developing countries alike will benefit from the exchange of plant material.
Food and Farming Minister Larry Whitty said: “By allowing countries to share access to these resources, we can achieve greater food security.
“Most importantly, this move will benefit farmers in developing countries. Agriculture has a vital role in all societies, and by making these important resources more freely available, we can enable the world’s poorest nations to develop their agriculture.
“Plant genetic resources for food and agriculture are vital raw material that farmers and plant breeders use to improve the quality and productivity of food crops. Farmers, plant breeders and researchers should make the most of the plant resources now available to help achieve the aims of the treaty.”
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