On 28 April 2022, the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) hosted a policy seminar dedicated to the role and impact of plant variety protection in the European Union. The seminar also coincided with the public release and presentation of the new European study called “Impact of the Community Plant Variety Rights system on the EU economy and the environment” and jointly published by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the CPVO.
The study quantifies the economic contribution in the European Union of the CPVR system. While it is analogous to the EUIPO studies on the economic contribution of the other IP rights, it considers specific aspects of agriculture and horticulture, such as the contribution of the PVR system to the global competitiveness of EU farmers and growers.
The study also considers the potential for the CPVR system to help meet the European Commission’s Green Deal objectives, in particular:
- Climate neutral Europe;
- Ecosystems & biodiversity, to address protection of environment and to contribute to halting loss of biodiversity;
- Farm to Fork strategy, to ensure the production of sustainable, safe, nutritious and high quality food along the whole value chain while ensuring food security by seed security;
- R&D and innovation.
The study also explores the potential contribution to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and it highlights how the CPVR system has contributed to output growth in EU agriculture since 1995, despite the fact that input use during that period has been decreasing by 0.5% per year for arable crops and by 1% per year for horticulture (fruit and vegetables) and ornamentals.
Besides the results due to plant breeding in general, the study calculates that in absence of CPVR system and in respect to output, in 2020 production of arable crops in the EU would be 6.4% lower, production of fruit would be 2.6% lower, that of vegetables 4.7% lower, and finally, the output of ornamentals would be 15.1% lower. This means that the additional production brought about by plant variety innovations supported by the CPVR is sufficient to feed an additional 57 million people world and 28 million for vegetables. Furthermore, CPVR system would contribute to SDGs by reducing the environment impact and resource use of agriculture and horticulture, by increasing farm incomes, and by keeping prices lower for consumers.
In addition, CPVR system has an extensive impact on employment, as wages workers in the arable crops sector are 12.6% higher than they would have been of in the absence of this system, while wages in the horticulture sector are 11% higher. The farmers/growers across the EU thus benefit from the innovations supported by the CPVR system. The breeders which carry out the R&D leading to those innovations also generate employment and economic activity.
Finally, the CPVR contributes to the fulfilment contribution to the EU economy, but also of the EU’s environmental objectives by reducing annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture and horticulture by 62 million tons per year.
The video recordings of the policy seminar and the study are available on a dedicated CPVO webpage. The study can be downloaded below.