A sector serving the public good
SEMAE (formerly GNIS) is an interprofessional organisation that is legally recognised in France and Europe.
SEMAE is a private legal entity. It is the only organisation of its type. Its status as an interprofessional organisation was recognised by European authorities on June 19, 2014 (third pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy, focused on the structure of agricultural industries—Single Common Market Organisation). This recognition honours the interprofessional nature of the work performed by the French organisation, which began 70 years ago!
The French Interprofessional Organisation for Seeds and Plants brought its bylaws up to date on June 24, 2015, the first modification since the organisation’s founding on June 18, 1962. Its aims remain the same: to gather all the seed sector’s stakeholders and to ensure the quality of French seeds.
Like other interprofessional organisations, SEMAE is funded by voluntary fees. The professionals serving on SEMAE’s decision-making bodies decide upon the fee amount. Since interprofessional agreements can be formalised via ministerial decree, these fees are mandatory for all professionals who benefit from the organisation’s activities. They are thus referred to as “mandatory voluntary contributions”: CVROs in French.
Fee rates are fixed by vote and revisited every three years.
SEMAE acts in the sector’s general interest, a fact that was affirmed in the French Constitutional Council’s decision on CVROs of 17 February 2012. The council ruled that CVROs are not a type of tax.