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HOW TO REALIZE FARMERS' RIGHTS AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL:

Step 5: Protecting and enhancing legal space for farmers' customary practices

In this sub-section options to protect and enhance Farmers' Rights to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed and propagating material will be presented. These measures cover the assessment of current legislation and policies and the development of legal space for such customary practices.

Why is this important? In the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the Contracting Parties recognize the enormous contribution that farmers have made and will continue to make for the conservation and sustainable use of crop genetic resources. This constitutes the basis for food and agriculture production throughout the world (Paragraph 9.1) and the basis of Farmers' Rights (Preamble). The International Treaty also states that nothing in its provisions on Farmers' Rights in Article 9 shall be interpreted to limit any rights that farmers have to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed and propagating material (Paragraph 9.3). The Preamble emphasizes that any rights recognized in the Treaty to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed and other propagating material are fundamental for the realization of Farmers' Rights. Whereas the International Treaty does in fact not recognize any particular rights regarding these customary practices of farmers, it is clear that this topic is fundamental to the realization of Farmers' Rights. The reason is obvious: Without the rights to save, use, exchange, and sell seeds and propagating material, farmers will not anymore be in a position to conserve and sustainably use crop genetic diversity. This would lead to massive genetic erosion, and be fully detrimental to the implementation of the International Treaty in terms of in situ conservation and sustainable use. In many countries in the North this is already becoming a reality, and countries in the South are following. Thus action in this regard is urgent.

In this sub-section, various options to protect and enhance these rights will be presented. This page will be finalized in 2012. It will cover how legislation and policies can be assessed with regard to these rights, and present options on how legal space for farmers' customary practices can be safe-guarded within current frameworks of legislation. Relevant legislation are plant breeders rights, patent rights, seed laws, certification regulations and bioprospecting laws.


Read more about:
    How to measure successes from the realization of Farmers' Rights to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed
    Success stories from the realization of Farmers' Rights to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed
Top top
 In this section:
  HOW TO REALIZE FARMERS' RIGHTS AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL
  Step 1: Creating awareness on the importance of Farmers' Rights
  Step 2: Ensuring farmers' participation in the implementation process
  Step 3: Developing a national consultative process, joining forces, pooling resources
  Step 4: Establishing an institutional framework for implementation
  Step 5: Protecting and enhancing legal space for farmers' customary practices
  Step 6: Protecting traditional knowledge relevant to crop genetic resources
  Step 7: Promoting the right to equitably participate in benefit sharing
  Step 8: Enabling participation in decision making on genetic resources

Photo: SAWTEE

Webpage last updated 5 June 2012