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Spain: Campaign against illegal reproduction of plants

At an event organised by La Voz de Almeria, addressing the future of genetic improvement in Almerian agriculture, one of the topics debated was the issues caused by the illegal reproduction of plant material. The event counted with the participation of representatives of ANOVE, of breeding companies, of the Regional Government of Andalusia and of the biological control and seedlings sector.

According to the technical director of ANOVE, Francisco Petit, it does not seem advisable to "unprotect what is already protected," referring to the new varieties registered by breeding companies.

In his opinion, fruit and vegetable producers as a whole share common interests that must be defended by all. "In fact, the protection of the intellectual property of seed houses benefits the whole sector, as it is a necessary condition for the development of agriculture in the province of Almeria," stated Petit.

Without trying to convey a sense of alarmism, the manager of ANOVE mentioned the case of illegal reproduction derived from grafts, which can be very damaging for both the seed houses and the agricultural model in general. Petit described this as a phenomenon that cannot be considered generalised, but which should motivate all agents involved in the sector to cooperate for its eradication, "always prioritising dialogue and awareness campaigns over the mere prosecution of crimes."

Luis Miguel Fernández Sierra, manager of Coexphal, agrees, to a large extent, with the idea of addressing the issue with awareness campaigns, looking at the problem as another aspect that needs improvement in horticultural production and marketing.

He also highlighted the role of leading marketers, which are usually companies that seek to develop their work in terms of excellence and therefore are transparent in all aspects. This position is shared by the majority of producers who choose for increasingly technified systems.

From the point of view of the Regional Administration, this problem could also be addressed with greater control efforts. This was stated by José Antonio Aliaga, head of the Agriculture, Livestock, Industry and Quality Service, in the framework of an analysis by all participants regarding the research activity of Almeria's seed houses, motivated by market losses caused by illegal reproductive practices. 

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