You may have never heard about the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture but the multi-lateral agreement is considered crucial in the fight against global hunger and poverty.
“The treaty is an international regime where countries decided that we needed to do something about conserving and sustainably using plant genetic resources for food and agriculture,” said Tom Nickson of Monsanto, who provided an update on the treaty to members of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) Intellectual Property Rights Committee during the recent annual meeting.
Over 130 countries are currently “contracting parties” to the treaty, including Australia, Brazil, Canada and the European Union nations. A number of others, such as the United States, are only “signatories” to the agreement. The treaty has been awaiting ratification by Congress since 2002. “It came very close about four years ago,” said Nickson. “But we’re hoping we can resurrect the conversation and get this over the goal line.”
ASTA supports ratification of the treaty and Nickson says they are urging Congress to make it a priority. “We don’t have to change any of our laws, it’s philosophically aligned with what we’re trying to do in our national plant germplasm system to protect and conserve genetic resources, so we’re really, really very close,” he said.
Find out more in this interview. [wpaudio url=”http://www.zimmcomm.biz/asta/asta-14-treaty.mp3″ text=”Interview with Tom Nickson, Monsanto”]