Krasnodar, 5 October – Yug Times. Our today’s interviewee is Mikhail Samus, Executive Director of the National Association of Producers of Oilseeds and Maize. 

Q.: There is a lot of discussion of the quality of domestic seeds… 

A.: There is regularity – foreign hybrids give high yields if there were good preceding cultural practices, that is, when the agricultural technology stands on a very high level, high doses of fertilisers and comprehensive plant protection system are applied. Under these conditions, best foreign hybrids can show higher yields. It should be emphasised that not all, but really the very best hybrids. But when deviating from this set on any of the points, the results are quite different. In this sense, domestic hybrids show more stable results. And when we talk about stress factors, such as drought, return of spring colds and the like, our hybrids show better results. 

Q.: In September, the localisation rules for foreign seed growers came into force. Are you feeling the results of this process yet? 

A.: Yes. Now every foreign seed breeder working in our country must have at least 51% of Russian capital in its structure. Foreign companies have already started to show interest in partnership with our seed breeders. Previously, they did not co-operate at all. Now every domestic breeding farm or qualified team that has a breeding programme but no production facility has received two or three offers from foreign companies. Harmonisation of the interests is underway, so everyone has to find a good partner. Those who do have a production facility, but lack competences, establish links with a company that will provide its own hybrid lines seed production – and vice versa. This has revitalised the market in many ways. Some companies have already launched joint programmes. Creating a new hybrid is not a quick business – it takes up to five years. Getting a ready line from a foreign partner will allow to launch production much faster. 

Q.: Does the transfer of original seed lines mean nationalisation of foreign companies' developments? 

A.: I would put it differently. We are not taking them away by force. The procedure for localising seed production in the Russian Federation has nothing to do with the rules governing intellectual property. Thus, the rights to the invention remain with the foreign company. I would like to note that for foreign breeders our market is incredibly attractive, with huge agricultural areas that need to be sown with something, there is no water scarcity, and there are a lot of territories where irrigation can be organised, without which seed production of simplest maize hybrids would not be possible. That is why international specialisation has recently developed in such a way that Russia produces raw materials and foreigners give us the technologies, including breeding practices. 

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