According to current legislation, it is illegal to trade in uncertified material for sowing or planting. In order to be able to sell seed legally, it is necessary to have a licence from the breeder of that variety, for which the licensee pays a licence fee, the rate of which is set by the breeder individually for each protected variety in a given year. A farmer who even unknowingly buys cheaper, uncertified sowing material of a given variety, e.g. at a market, also comes into conflict with the law.
This is due to the fact that the seller does not have the aforementioned licence from the breeder, thus not financing the breeder who is the sole owner of the protected variety. Whether it is a protected variety or not, we can check at this address.
The privilege of not having to sow a variety covered by an exclusive right only as certified material (you can sow seed from your own propagation), is called ‘agricultural derogation’ and in many countries ‘farmer’s privilege’. The most important thing, however, is its safety, so that it is not infected with diseases or pests, does not contain weed seeds and especially seeds of invasive plants. Farms that enjoy this privilege are obliged to pay a fee to the breeder within 30 days of sowing if they use for sowing or planting, material of the protected variety collected from their own harvest. The amount of this fee is 50% of the licence fee for the variety in question in that year. Only farms with a total area of agricultural land (excluding forests and land under housing) owned and leased up to:
- 10 ha – in the case of potato varieties protected in Poland and the European Union;
- 25 ha – for varieties of other plant species protected in Poland and 30 ha of varieties protected in the European Union.
The list of plant species covered by the agricultural derogation is posted on the Seed Agency website (Agencja Nasienna Sp. z o. o).