The role of plant breeders' rights in an evolving peach and nectarine fresh fruit sector
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The evolving impact of plant breeders' rights was investigated in a bid to provide a basis for understanding the complex relationship that exists between scientific, legislative and market matters that shape the peach and nectarine fresh fruit sector. The results show that there is complementarity among varietal legislation, deregularisation, international trade policies, market trends and research intensity. Plant varietal legislation is found to play a facilitative role in ensuring the growth in the sector which has evolved from merely facilitating access to better quality cultivars which were bred beyond South Africa's borders, to the provision of good quality germplasm that aids in the breeding of locally bred varieties which better meet the production needs of local farmers. The results of the analysis show that strengthened varietal legislation has contributed significantly to cultivar development, reduced varietal concentration, increased resource (land) utilisation and increased export revenue generation and market penetration. The study warns of the negative effects that widening the scope of the Plant Breeders' Rights Act would have on innovation and cultivar access by poor farmers. Because of the strong ties existing between innovation and R&D investment, the recommendation is for an increase in R&D investment in the local research institution.