Composition and tasks
According to § 66 SaatG, the national value of cultivation and use of a variety is to be assessed as a criterion for variety registration by a Variety Registration Commission (SZK) on the basis of the documents submitted by the Federal Office for Food Safety (BAES).
The Variety Registration Commission is composed as follows:
2 experts (University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Association of Plant Breeders and Seed Merchants).
9 representatives of the National Chambers of Agriculture
1 representative of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism (BMLRT)
1 representative of the Federal Office for Food Safety (BAES) (non-voting)
The Variety registration Commission SZK gives an opinion on the attribution of the national value of cultivation and use. The result of the SZK is not binding for the positive or negative decision of the authority (BAES), but in general the authority follows the proposal of the SZK. Without a vote by the SZK, the authority cannot accept a variety (except for varieties of species for which the requirement of VCU testing does not apply).
The "national value of cultivation and use" as an important element of the plant variety system
According to § 50 of the Seed Act, a variety is of national value of cultivation and use if, in the totality of its value-determining characteristics compared to comparable, already approved varieties, it improves
- cultivation, especially taking into account resistance to harmful organisms,
- utilisation of the harvested crop, or
- utilisation of products obtained from the harvested crop.
The national value of cultivation and use is a relative value, relative to the respective variety spectrum, and not a static value. It is constantly adapted to changing economic conditions and price situations and its content is redefined. Its determination is partly a matter of judgement, despite objective value test data.
An improvement can be given if the tested variety is above the performance of the most valuable approved variety in an important value characteristic such as an agronomic criterion, in an essential resistance characteristic, in yield or in certain quality parameters, or if the value-determining characteristics are combined more favourably. Thus, at least in one cultivation region, "the best" approved variety must be surpassed; the cultivation regions are delimited differently for the plant species. Individual negative characteristics can be partially outweighed by favourable other characteristics. This way of interpreting the national value of cultivation and use promotes diversification and regionalisation of the assortment of varieties.