Special Correspondent

With clonal forestry gaining momentum, intensive R&D work had resulted in better clones

A system of registration and ownership would provide more impetus for furthering activities

Coimbatore: The Managing Director of the Karnataka State Forest Industries Corporation,P.J.Dilipkumar, has called for “varietal intelligence” to prevent “unauthorised usage of varieties evolved by the institutions”.

He was speaking at a national seminar on “implications of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act ,2001, to forestry sector” at the Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding ( IFGTB) here recently.

According to an official release, he pointed out that farm forestry had picked up in a big way, that too in private sector. Its research and development efforts had been successful and it was reflected in the popularity which improved clones had gained with farmers even when commercial rates were charged. Private companies were supplying more than 50 million seedlings annually, covering an estimated area of 26,000 hectares.

With clonal forestry gaining tremendous momentum, intensive R&D work in the past few years had resulted in better clones and packages of management practices.

A system of registration and ownership would support and provide more impetus for furthering their activities.

“ However, there are no formal bodies or systems in forestry”. Development of a system of registration of clones and a system for certification of tree seeds and clonal planting stock would not only protect the inputs of the breeders but also encourage tree farming.

“ In the absence of a good protection system, there is unauthorised usage of the varieties evolved by the institutions”, he lamented.

He was happy to note that the Central Government had taken a major step in this direction by passing the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Right Act, 2001, which gave the opportunity to a commercial breeder to register and protect his plant breeder right.

This could encourage development of new and improved plant varieties.

M.Suryaprakash, Director, IFGTB, said forest-based industries in the country consumed 24-30 million cubic metre of raw materials per annum.

This would exceed 70 million cubic metres per year by the end of the decade. The domestic supply would fall short by 14 million cubic metres then.

Paper industry, a major consumer of wood as raw material, would require about 8.5 million tonnes per annum by 2010. But the wood-based industries were plagued by raw material shortage.

He pointed out that captive industrial plantations of genetically improved planting stock of short rotation were gaining increasing attention. Systematic tree improvement strategies in fast rotation crops,using well performing clones\families\provenances, had been attempted to increase the yield. Considerable interest evinced by farmers and private sector had resulted in growing trees in the farmland.

He also stressed the importance of protecting research products as that alone would be able to provide incentive for investments.

Hence, he underlined the need for sensitising the players in the field on the need for effective implementation of the Farmers’ Rights Act.

According to him, the initial step towards implementation of the Act for forestry species was the development of general descriptors,.This would represent an important tool for a standardised characterisation system. Once this system was in place, the guidelines for testing and registration should be developed.