Policy Brief 17, March 2015

Towards a More Coherent International Legal System on Farmers’ Rights: The Relationship of the FAO ITPGRFA, UPOV and WIPO

This Policy Brief outlines some key areas of interrelation among the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Farmers’ Rights are one of the important elements in the ITPGRFA. The effective implementation of such rights is critical to ensure equity in the farming systems and to promote the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. The achievement of these objectives requires, in particular, the protection of farmers’ practices with respect to saving, selling and exchanging seeds.

The protection of breeders’ rights under the UPOV Convention should be made compatible with the recognition of Farmers’ Rights, via interpretation and amendment of the relevant provisions. WIPO, as the UN agency specializing in intellectual property, also has the responsibility of addressing in its committees the issue of Farmers’ Rights and of providing countries with advice that contributes to their realization at the national level.

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