Procedures used by CGN for seed requests

CGN distributes seeds to any user for the purposes of breeding, research and/or education. It may wish to enquire the reasons for the request. Information concerning the user and the request is treated confidentially. Due to the phytosanitary application process that is required for some seeds, the total timespan between initial request and final delivery may take several weeks.

Who can request seeds?

Diversity in genetic material is meant to be used. CGN provides germplasm to [professional] users, including public and private sector users and breeding companies, research organisations and organisations of farmers or growers. While CGN would like to make the germplasm available to all users, for economic reasons CGN will generally not fulfil requests for germplasm for personal use from individuals. Requests for large numbers of samples are followed up to discuss the motivations for prospected use in these cases.

Material Transfer Agreement (MTA)

If you wish to obtain germplasm from CGN, a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) has to be signed by an authorised person of the organisation. Usually the MTA is the Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA) of the Multilateral System of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. More information about the SMTA can be found on the ABS Focal Point.

Signing an MTA is part of the online seed request procedure. When requesting material, the contact details of both the requester and the authorised signer are required (including the shipping address). The authorised signer will receive an email with a digital contract to sign. After signing the MTA, both the requester and the authorised signer receive a PDF copy of the request, which includes the signed MTA and a list of the requested material. After CGN has received the completed and signed copy of the MTA (online click wrap version or hard copy), you will receive the requested germplasm as soon as possible. This may take several weeks.

In exceptional cases, it is possible to follow a “hard copy procedure”. In this case, the MTA needs to be signed on the official paper that will be sent to you by mail. After the signed MTA has been returned to CGN, the germplasm is sent. A signed printout of the PDF file (e.g. sent by email) is no more than a preliminary document.

The more we know about our collection, the more targeted future users can select material. This is why we request users to return their evaluation results to CGN. An embargo on the availability of those results for a limited number of years can be agreed upon.

In case the material is subsequently passed on to other users, one has to consult the text of the MTA (usually the SMTA) to determine whether restrictions apply. The SMTA requires recipients of CGN's germplasm to adhere to the principle of free availability. Protection of intellectual property is not restricted by the SMTA when the material is the result of breeding efforts, even if the source material includes germplasms obtained from CGN. More information on intellectual property is found on the ABS Focal Point.

Import requirements

The seed shipments need to meet the (plant health) import requirements of the receiving country. The EU regulations for all EU countries are known to CGN. Most non-EU countries use a system of import permits. The restrictions differ per crop and per country. An import permit can be obtained from your Plant Protection Service (likely working under the responsibility of your Ministry of Agriculture). If required, it is important to send us the permit as soon as possible.

The Phytosanitary Certificate (from the Netherlands) is requested from the Dutch Plant Protection Service by CGN. It confirms that the material meets the specific requirements of the importing country as defined in the import permit. For faster processing of seed requests, send a copy of the import permit to CGN in advance by email. This allows CGN to request a Phytosanitary Certificate more quickly.

In some countries a small amount of seeds for scientific purposes can be imported without an import permit. Please inform at your Plant Protection Service. If an import permit is not required, please notify CGN so a Phytosanitary Certificate can be requested without having to wait for the import permit.

Seed delivery awaits the MTA procedure which, if necessary, is followed by the request of a Phytosanitary Certificate or Plant Passport (within the EU) from the Dutch Plant Protection Service. As soon as all documents are available, CGN dispatches the seeds to the user. The total timespan between initial request and final delivery may take several weeks.

Handling fees

Although CGN does not charge handling fees, in case of requests for detailed information or interpretation of such information, CGN may approach the potential user of the material for financial compensation, at the discretion of CGN.