After five years of having started with the intention of modifying the Plant Varieties Federal Law (PVFL); the Agricultural and Livestock Commission of the Chamber of Deputies published on April 10, 2012 that the bill received on November 17, 2011, previously approved by the corresponding Agricultural and Livestock Commission of the Chamber of Senators, and also approved by said Commission of the Chamber of Deputies on March 12, 2012 would be presented and voted that same date - April 10, or after a few days - before the plenum of the Chamber of Deputies with great chance to be approved.
Once the law was voted in the plenum, the only pending aspect would have been the publication of the PVFL in the Official Gazette, final requirement for the new law to be in force. However, circumstances happened that prevented the PVFL to be voted and published.
What happened was that INIFAP (Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agrícolas y Pecuarias) was pressing against the approved bill in order that it was not voted and therefore approved in the Chamber of Deputies1. After three days of intense discussions with legislators, the requirement of INIFAP was surprisingly satisfied. The winning arguments were, firstly, that the bill had not been lobbied with the plant breeders, scientists and academics, and secondly, that the approval of that new law would put in risk the food sovereignty of Mexico. In view of the above, the vote on the bill was postponed until further notice.
The main aim of the reforms pending to be voted and approved by the Mexican Congress can be resumed in the following points:
- Harmonization with UPOV 1991.
- Increase in the duration of the protection: 25 years for perennial plants (trees and vines) and 20 years for other plants.
- Increase in the scope of the material covered: All propagating material and harvested material.
- Reinforcement of the SNICS's (Servicio Nacional de Inspección y Certificación de Semillas) faculties for inspection and surveillance proceedings.
- Establishment of measures that reduce the time for granting the breeder's certificate.
- Strengthening of the surveillance mechanisms as well as of the chapter of infractions and sanctions.
- Inclusion of a new definition for "plant variety".
- Inclusion of the definition for "essentially derived varieties".
- Inclusion of the protection for edible fungus.
- Inclusion of the figure of compulsory licenses.
As observed above, the implementation of the reform to the Plant Varieties Federal Law continues to be pending, with an additional ingredient: a new Congress has been elected during the last elections of July 1st, 2012, which has just entered in functions on September 1st, 2012. This means that at the moment, there is not any proposed date when the bill will be voted.
1. Published on M Semanal (May 26, 2012) - Grupo Milenio.
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