Seed companies from outside of Canada are securing seed of pulse and cereal varieties to sell in their home countries without authorization from the varieties’ breeders or their agents.

These unauthorized seed companies have not paid for the development of these or future varieties.

The unauthorized export of seed negatively impacts Canadian farmers, and the Canadian grain sector more broadly. In particular, Saskatchewan pulse growers have invested tens of millions of dollars to develop the pulse crop varieties that we grow in Saskatchewan. We want to ensure that we protect the investments that farmers have made in variety development. We do not want to erode farmers’ competitiveness in international markets.

As a member of the Canadian Plant Technology Agency (CPTA), Saskatchewan Pulse Growers (SPG) is working collaboratively with CPTA and its members to ensure that breeches in seed export rules are investigated and appropriate actions are taken. Canadians who sell protected varieties without the authorization of the breeder or their agent can be liable for civil damages resulting from the sale. We are also making sure all those involved in the supply chain are aware of the issue and encouraging farmers, seed growers, exporters, and others to watch out for those that are looking to access seed in an unauthorized way. SPG wants to prevent the unauthorized use of varieties that Saskatchewan pulse farmers have paid to develop.

What do I need to know?

  • We all play an important role in ensuring ongoing competitiveness and protection of the investments that growers have made.
  • Growers should be aware of, and watch out for, inquiries to purchase pulses or other grains from buyers that you may not normally deal with. If those buyers are interested in smaller quantities (requests for mini-bulk bags seem popular), or specifications such as germination, seed quality, and other attributes normally associated with planting seed, be suspicious.
  • You can help prevent unauthorized use by choosing not to sell pulses when the end use of the grain looks like it may be for seed use in another country and not for food, animal feed, or other processing.
  • Seed growers need to ensure they know where and to whom they are authorized to sell seed.  For Crop Development Centre (CDC) varieties commercialized by SPG, this is mainly to Saskatchewan producers. Sales outside of Saskatchewan or outside of Canada need to be authorized by SPG or the CDC agents that hold international rights to those varieties. Seed growers can contact Laurie Friesen, Seed Program Manager, SPG at 306-668-2812 if they have any questions.
  • Individuals should know that they could face penalties if they support or facilitate the unauthorized export or use of varieties.

If you have been contacted by a seed company that is asking for specific variety attributes listed above, please contact Lorne Hadley, Executive Director, CPTA: 1.866.450.4116 or