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Seed-saving rights debated in Parksville this Saturday

Jan Slomp, president of the National Farmers Union, is in Parksville this week to speak against the federal Bill C-18, the Agricultural Growth Act.

The bill would make Canada compliant with UPOV 91 (Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants), an intergovernmental organization meant to advance the interests of plant breeders, which Slomp said will hurt farmers.

"It is obvious that UPOV '91 gives plant breeders significantly more "rights " and tools for royalty collection, while farmers' seed-saving right is reduced merely to 'privilege'," he writes on their website (www.nfu.ca).

He argues that farmers should be free to save, reuse, select, exchange and sell seed unrestricted, which Bill C-18 would limit.

Slomp, who holistically manages a 65-cow dairy farm near Rimbey, Alberta, said the changes will benefit international corporations but hurt Canadian farmers and consumers with higher prices.

Slomp will speak at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 27 at the Parksville Community Centre.

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