To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what progress has been made on the review of plant variety testing and seed certification in the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.
My right hon. Friends and I have now received a report from the team of officials set up to conduct this review. I am arranging for a copy of the report to be placed in the Library of the House.We welcome receipt of this report which makes a comprehensive study of the operation of the systems for plant breeders' rights, the national listing of plant varieties and seed certification in the United Kingdom. It concludes that the systems have served the industry well in the past but that change is now required to meet the needs of plant breeders, the seed industry, farmers and growers, and the processing industry. The report makes a large number of recommendations which would change procedures, increase cost effectiveness and efficiency, and alter the funding arrangements. In order to allow full consideration of these recommendations, we intend to publish the report straightaway and invite all interested parties to comment on its findings.