The soya industry is expected to receive a boost of R1 billion per year from the recently imposed Breeding and Technology Levy (BTL).
The levy will be used to fund research into improving seed cultivars to ensure increased yield and quality, and South Africa’s competitiveness in the global market.
Previously, seed companies had little incentive to fund costly seed development research. Prof Ferdi Meyer, director of the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP), said that ‘farmer privilege’ allowed farmers to save and replant seed.
“For self-pollinated crops such as soya bean, this means that farmers only have to buy seed once, and can continue planting the same variety in subsequent seasons. As a result, the financial motivation for seed companies to invest in local, long-term, expensive breeding programmes, or to import new germplasm or traits, is limited, as they’re unable to recoup a significant portion of their costs or collect the due return on innovation.
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