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THE CONTENTS OF FARMERS' RIGHTS:

Towards a common ground of understanding

When discussing Farmers' Rights it is useful to seek to establish a common ground of shared perceptions, a lowest common denominator. Such a common understanding would enable advancing the discussion on Farmers' Rights from the concept and to concrete measures to be proposed. It could also provide a basis for widening the common understanding on the contents of Farmers' Rights among stakeholders.

Such a working definition would not be exhaustive, but cover the elements of an understanding which are shared among most stakeholders. Based on the many perceptions on the concept (compiled in by Regine Andersen through the Farmers' Rights Project), the following working definition may be seen as a lowest common denominator:

Farmers' Rights consist of the customary rights of farmers to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed and propagating material, their rights to be recognized, rewarded and supported for their contribution to the global pool of genetic resources as well as to the development of commercial varieties of plants, and to participate in decision making on issues related to crop genetic resources.

Such a 'minimum definition' does not directly address the latent conflict between Farmers' Rights and intellectual property rights. Rather, it seeks to establish a common ground from which to address the crucial issue of Farmers' Rights, which is necessary to develop a fruitful dialogue among stakeholders on necessary measures to be taken – also with regard to intellectual property rights.



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