Objective 2 of the BDP Working Group International Markets for the Russian Federation

Improvement of the system of variety registration in Russia

Background

The purpose of variety registration is consumer protection. As a result of DUS testing (Distinctness, Uniformity, Stability) famers receive clearly defined varieties. VCU testing (Value for Cultivation and Use) investigates the performance and the quality features of the varieties.

Official VCU testing generates objective testing results as a basis for marketing. Fair competition between seed companies is safeguarded because farmers can choose the best varieties for their holdings on the basis of independent data.

Present situation in Russia

Variety registration in Russia requires DUS and VCU testing for agricultural species. VCU testing takes place on up to 150 trial sites per species in 12 rayons.

National registration of a variety is possible on the basis of positive results in one rayon. Subsidies for the use of certified seeds can only be applied for if the variety is listed in the respective rayon.

The testing on such a high number of trial sites results in high costs for the breeders especially with regard to the logistics of provision of trial seeds (e. g. potato). The breeder receives very little information on trial design (checks, characteristics assessed etc.) and trial results. Not all trial sites produce high quality results. The technical equipment is not satisfactory in many cases.

Many important characteristics are not taken into a count for the decision on variety registration (resistances against harmful organisms, agronomic characteristics, quality of the harvest material etc.). The high number of trial sites results in a high demand for trial seeds and very high costs for the breeder. The decision on variety registration is made by scientists who often lack practical experience in agricultural production.

There is a substantial number of high quality foreign varieties in the Russian trials and on the Russian list of registered varieties. These varieties help Russian farmers to improve their yields and the quality of their production. As these varieties can also be used for further breeding by the Russian breeding institutes they also help Russian Breeders to improve their own variety material. There is a positive impact on Russian agriculture.

Positions to be communicated

BDP is strongly in favour of high quality DUS and VCU (for agricultural species) testing and proposes to start a discussion on the general improvement of variety testing in Russia. A better technical quality of the trials and a streamlining of testing (fewer trial sites) can lead to substantially better results and also lower costs. The growing conditions in the trials need to be adapted to modern farming practices. An increased input of fertilizer and plant protection will help high yielding varieties to demonstrate their potential.

Positive results of VCU testing in one rayon and national registration of a variety should lead to the possibility to apply for subsidies for certified seeds in all rayons.

There needs to be a reform of the trial design and of the number of characteristics that are tested. The breeders need to have more information on the trial design and on the results of testing. The procedure of variety registration needs to be improved. Experts from end user industries (malting, milling etc.) should be involved in the registration process.

Possible lobbying partners

The National Union of Breeders' and Seed
The Russian Potato Union
The Russian Grain Union
The Russian Sugar Union
The Farmers Union (ACCOR)

Next steps

Start discussion with relevant associations and ask for general support of BDP positions.

Start discussion with State Variety Commission on an initiative to improve variety testing in Russia. The appointment of a new chairman of the State Variety Commission, Vitaly Voloshenko, is a good opportunity to reform the system. The initiative should not only come from BDP but should be supported by the Russian associations.

Vitaly Voloshemko can be invited to Germany to demonstrate our system of variety testing.

A seminar on variety testing can be organised in Russia.

21st August 2013

Dieter Rücker