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Seed Synergy plan moves forward

Partnership currently working on the details of the program

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Work continues on the Seed Synergy plan to bring together several organizations in the Canadian seed sector.

The merger between Canadian Seed Trade Association, Canadian Seed Growers Association, Canadian Seed Institute, Canadian Plant Technology Association and Commercial Seed Analyst Association of Canada began back in 2015 to simplify the seed industry system.

Crop Life Canada is also part of the amalgamation but will continue to be its own organization following the partnership.

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Why it matters: The collaboration will affect all agricultural seed sectors across Canada. The amalgamation is looking to improve the accessibility of seed.

The collaboration represents 3,200 members within the six organizations, and the 60,000 employees within the Canadian seed industry.

A vote by members in July will be the next step.

During the past 50 years, the seed industry has changed with more public scrutiny, increased requirement for international trade, market access, greater demand on financial and human resources and an increase in the industries role.

“We stepped back and we looked at what the seed industry looks like today. It’s organizationally fragmented, limits innovation, is difficult to navigate, costly to administer and does not adequately provide for value creation to sustain innovation,” says Ellen Sparry, general manager at C&M Seeds.

Sparry says the organization is looking to be a “one stop shop” for Canada’s seed industry.

“If (we) now have one group that (we) can go to and ask questions it will save time, save effort and save staffs’ time.”

As well there will be one voice to work with government and producers in innovation, regulatory modernization, international reputation and export development.

The amalgamation will benefit farmers and seed users with access to new and more innovative varieties with higher marketing potential, Sparry says. As well, the changes are expected to offer improved association member services.

In April 2017, Seed Synergy was formally recognized by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency within its Forward Regulatory Plan.

In December of that year a federal government advisory council on economic growth identified an urgent need for growth in agriculture.

The advisory council made recommendations that the industry work on removing obstacles and that government set bold ambitions in collaboration with the private sector.

“This sort of gave Seed Synergy a target as to what we wanted to look at, what did the future hold and what did we want to look at for our next generation seed system?

“We want to continue to have a trusted and safe regulatory system that’s in need of change. We have a desire to make Canada’s ag sector, specifically seed, competitive in the whole ag economy,” Sparry says.

Seed Synergy’s vision is to be a reformed, industry-led, government-enabled seed system that attracts investment, fosters innovation, delivers new tailored seed traits to customers efficiently and creates value for its members.

Sparry says the organization is now looking at what the board and government structure would look like and what sectors would be needed within the organization.

Soon, Seed Synergy hopes to bring forward potential organizational structures, including stakeholder and government engagement.

To find more information, visit SeedSynergy.net.

About the author

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Jennifer Glenney

Jennifer lives on a farm in Cayuga, Ontario and has a lot of experience in the many aspects of agriculture.

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