First Royalty payment to the Treaty’s Benefit-sharing Fund

Published on
July 18, 2018

Nunhems Netherlands B.V., specialised in vegetable varieties, has paid USD 119 083 to the International Treaty’s Benefit-sharing Fund. This equals 0.77% of seed sales of ten varieties of vegetables, that were developed using germplasm made available by the Centre for Genetic Resources, The Netherlands (CGN) and the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK) of Germany.

In 2010 Nunhems Netherlands B.V. signed a Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA) for receiving the material from the CGN collection. The SMTA was developed for exchange of germplasm which is part of the Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing of the International Treaty.  This system was designed so that benefits from genetic material are shared with farmers in developing countries through the Benefit-sharing Fund. Like many genebanks, CGN uses the SMTA for all its material. Now Nunhems Netherlands paid the Benefit-sharing Fund USD 119 083 from the seed sales in the USA over the last two years, of varieties developed with germplasm from the CGN en IPK collections. These varieties have been patented in the USA.

“We hope that this is the onset of the harvest period and that in the future more use-base payments may be expected from us, but also from various other privately held breeding companies,” said Peter Ogg, Legal Counsel of Nunhems Netherlands B.V.

According to Theo van Hintum, Head of CGN-Plant, the payment shows the importance of genebank accessions for plant breeding. “Previously it was impossible to quantify the impact of our material, and it still is. But this first payment gives at least a hint.” And he adds “But obviously, and more importantly, this first use based contribution to the Fund also sends a positive message about the willingness of the private industry to share the benefits of their breeding activities, not only via their products and input in-kind to genebanks, but also with hard cash.”