By Prossy Nandudu
Seed developers or breeders from the National Agriculture Research Organization are to be paid by seed companies that take their new seed for commercialization. This was revealed by NARO’s deputy director in charge of Technology Promotion Dr. Sadik Kassim.
This was in a function where seed breeders and research institutions were awarded and paid their royalties on Wednesday at Kabira Country Club. Payments had accumulated over the last one year, but going forward, these will be paid every end of year, explained Kassim.
Kassim said that the initiative is part of NARO’s Intellectual Property (IP) policy that establishes that when scientists produce a product with an IP or market potential, and it is marketed, what is earned from the IP is shared with the scientists.
Another percentage remains for the research institute where etch seed breeder is based and the remaining partition goes to the research account to support research in other institutes, explained Kassim.
Through the commercialization of breeds like sorghum, maize, rice, potatoes among others some breeders and research institutions were paid royalties of up to sh30m.
“The practice which is the first of its continue will continue to first of all motivate the breeder by earning royalties from research and development but also supplement what NARO gets from government for research annually,” said Kassim.He added from 2017 they have been working on ways through which to streamline the process of sending seed for multiplication at the same time maintain the quality of the seed.
“Agricultural technologies generated by NARO have reached end-users without formal access procedures. This is not only led to misappropriation but also limited recognition and benefits sharing to sustain research. We are now mainstreaming the process to monitor and enforce quality,” Kassim added.
He added that under this initiative, seed companies that have signed up with NARO will agree on a number of varieties from the breeder to be commercialized and then agree on a percentage to be charged per kilo of say Maize seed.
Part of the money earned from the royalties will supplement NARO’s meagre budget which now stands at sh101b.This money which is usually as minimal as sh100 will then be compiled and paid to researchers at the end of the season, added Dr Sylvester Baguma, Director of Bulindi Zonal Agriculture Research Organization.
Institutions that were awarded include the root crops program for outstanding work in the development of sweet potatoes like the orange fleshed sweet potatoes to fight hidden hunger. Potato program (works on Irish potatoes), for developing varieties that are good for the industry through processing into chipping and crisps.
Dry lands cereal programs from the NationalSemi Arid Resources Research Institute (NaSARRI) for developing sorghum and millet varieties for the brewing industry. Coffee research institution for developing new coffee varieties and also promoting value addition. Banana research program based at Kawanda for the fight against the banana bacterial wilt disease.
Cereals program that has so far released 26 varieties including maize and rice was also awarded, with the lead researcher Dr Godfrey Asea going home with sh30m in royalties from maize breeds alone.
At same event exceptional breeders were recognized like Dr Stanley Nkalubo, head of the bean breeding program, for his outstanding work in the development of beans rich in zinc and iron to address iron deficiencies among children from 6 months to 5 years and mothers of child bearing age, among others.Ends
By Prossy Nandudu