Seed groups weigh options as CSGA rejects merger

Grower group's membership calls nay on Seeds Canada amalgamation

The boards of five national seed sector groups planning a major merger are considering their next move after a less-than-unanimous vote on the proposal.

Members of the Canadian Plant Technology Agency (CPTA), Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada (CSAAC), Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA), Canadian Seed Institute (CSI) and Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) had voted on the proposal over the past six weeks.

Offering up no details, the groups said in a release Thursday that “one organization, the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association, did not vote in favour.”

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The seed organizations, in their joint release, said the “result is disappointing, and the boards of each participating organization will now consider how to move forward.”

Of the five groups involved, the CSGA is the largest. It represents pedigreed seed producers, with a membership made up mainly of farmers. It also has statutory power to certify pedigreed seed.

Without a unanimous decision in hand, the groups’ boards said Thursday they will “reconvene to determine the next steps” and expect to update members by the middle of September.

The groups had announced their plans in June for a vote on whether to amalgamate under the banner “Seeds Canada,” in a move they said would “bring together these organizations for greater efficiency and a common purpose: a stronger, united voice for Canada’s seed sector.”

The groups had said at the time that if one or more of the five didn’t ratify the plan, the remaining groups “may proceed to amalgamate on their own” — or could then choose not to proceed at all.

The proposal dates back to a 2015 brief from the CSGA and CSTA, followed by a 2017 “green paper” on the “core ideas and context for the next-generation seed system.”

A 2018 white paper from the organizations pointed out that, among other issues facing the seeds sector, the groups have “overlapping memberships and even directors, creating a significant draw on member time and resources.”

Critics of the proposal, however, have voiced concerns that larger agribusinesses and multinational seed companies may ultimately dominate Seeds Canada.

Others have asked aloud whether the proposed new organization would result in the undermining of Canada’s current pedigreed seed system. — Glacier FarmMedia Network

CORRECTION, Aug. 27: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to Aug. 27, 2020 as “Friday.” We regret the error.

About the author

Editor, Daily News

Dave Bedard

Editor of Daily News for the Glacier FarmMedia Network. A Saskatchewan transplant in Winnipeg.

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