Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Farmers as custodians of plant genetic resources: Need for legal space

26.06.2006
Farmers are the custodians of agrobiodiversity worldwide, crucial for food security and poverty alleviation. However, the legal space for farmers to maintain this role is rapidly decreasing due to the proliferation of various forms of rules and regulations. This is documented in the Farmers' Rights Project, led by the Fridtjof Nansen Institute. Project results were presented during a recent FAO meeting, and may have contributed to a small breakthrough in the work towards realisation of Farmers' Rights.

FAO's International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) provides for the realisation of Farmers' Rights, but it does not define the concept and there is uncertainty as to how this can be done.

Since March 2005, the Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) has led the international Farmers' Rights Project, with affiliated experts in India, Peru and Ethiopia, aimed at providing an empirical basis for constructive proposals to ITPGRFA's Governing Body on how Farmers' Rights can be realised.

At a side event during the Governing Body's First Session in Madrid 12-16 June 2006, FNI Project Leader Regine Andersen presented the project's main conclusions so far:

- The active use of diverse plant genetic resources in agriculture is currently at risk in more and more countries. Various forms of legislation (like certification rules, intellectual property rights and access legislation) increasingly restrict farmers' legal space to continue these customary agricultural practices. Farmers' Rights represent a strategic instrument to create sufficient legal space within the legislative contexts in the various countries – to ensure that farmers' practices of maintaining agro-biodiversity can continue.

- With the rapid genetic erosion in agriculture, distinct incentive structures are needed to ensure further maintenance of plant genetic diversity. Farmers' Rights represent a strategic instrument also in this regard, as they involve rewarding farmers for their contributions to the global pool of genetic resources.

- There are different, and potentially conflicting, approaches to farmers' rights, which can be divided into two main directions of thought: The ownership approach emphasizes the right of farmers to be economically rewarded for genetic material obtained from their fields which is used in commercial varieties and/or protected with intellectual property rights. The stewardship approach, on the other hand, emphasizes the rights that farmers must be granted in order to enable them to continue as stewards of agricultural plant diversity. If the main objective of Farmers' Rights is to maintain agro-biodiversity and to eradicate poverty, then the stewardship approach is clearly the most suitable, and any measures to ensure farmers' ownership rights to plant genetic material should be subordinate to this.

Following the side event, Norway proposed in the Governing Body that Farmers' Rights be included in the programme of work, and requested the Secretariat to prepare for the consideration of this issue at the Second Session of the Governing Body. The proposal was supported by many developing countries and subsequently adopted.

– Farmers' rights have been a controversial issue since it was first brought up in the FAO in 1986, says Project Leader Regine Andersen.

– Our aim has been to build bridges across old controversies and seek to develop a common understanding of how these rights can be realised. The Farmers' Rights Project has succeeded in the endeavour and the results were very well received at the side event. Bringing farmers' rights back in on the agenda of the Governing Body provides unique opportunities to promote the realisation of these rights, she ends.

Regine Andersen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.fni.no/news/230606.html
http://www.alphagalileo.org/nontextfiles/FR_core_findings.PDF

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New gene for atrazine resistance identified in waterhemp
24.02.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

nachricht Researchers discover a new link to fight billion-dollar threat to soybean production
14.02.2017 | University of Missouri-Columbia

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>