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THE CONTENTS OF FARMERS' RIGHTS:

Approaches to protecting farmers' traditional knowledge

Protecting farmers' traditional knowledge can mean different things.

Based on the ownership approach, it would mean offering ownership status to farmers with the right to act against misappropriation and decide over the use of their knowledge and related plant genetic resources. In Norway, farmers have stressed that their traditional knowledge is about to disappear. Protection, in their understanding, is about ensuring that the knowledge does not die out, and for that purpose the broadest possible sharing of knowledge is necessary. However, an ownership approach to protection could provide disincentives to sharing knowledge between and among farmers, as has been seen among potato farmers in Peru.

Some proponents of the stewardship approach note that agricultural plant varieties and related knowledge are normally shared among farming communities: 'Ownership' in this context is generally an alien idea among farmers, representing a profound break with traditional perceptions.

Whether a stewardship approach, an ownership approach or a combination is chosen to protecting traditional knowledge related to agro-biodiversity, it should not provide any disincentives to the sharing of knowledge and genetic resources among farmers, nor should it contribute to genetic erosion or the loss of traditional knowledge. That would be against the intentions of the ITPGRFA.



Pages in this sub-section:
   THE CONTENTS OF FARMERS' RIGHTS
   Two approaches to Farmers' Rights
   Approaches to protecting farmers' traditional knowledge
   Approaches to ensuring equitable benefit sharing
   Approaches to ensuring farmers' participation in decision-making
   Approaches to farmers' customary use of propagating material
   Conditions for the combination of approaches
   Towards a common ground of understanding
   What this may mean in practice
Top top
 In this section:
  ABOUT FARMERS' RIGHTS
  Farmers' Rights in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
  Why Farmers' Rights matter
  The contents of Farmers' Rights
  History of Farmers' Rights in the FAO
  Farmers' Rights in the literature
  Civil Society Organizations' approaches to Farmers' Rights

Photo: G. Ulutuncok