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RESOURCES:

Providing Farmers' Rights through In Situ Conservation of Crop Genetic Resources

Brush, Stephen B. (1994):
Providing Farmers' Rights through In Situ Conservation of Crop Genetic Resources
CPGR Background Study Paper No.3 (Rome: FAO)

Summary

This background study was prepared at the request of the Secretariat of the FAO Commission on Plant Genetic Resources as an input to the negotiations for the revision of the International Undertaking. It was presented at the First Extraordinary Session of the Commission in November 1994. The study starts out examining the importance of in situ conservation as a complementary strategy to ex situ conservation, and highlights the relationship between conservation and equity. On this basis it outlines a programme for in situ conservation, emphasizing institutional strengthening, community programmes and incentives to farmers.

As such a programme would necessitate financial resources, the last part of Brush's paper is devoted to two funding approaches: Either a market approach could be chosen, which would involve intellectual property mechanisms and/or contracts; or a non-market approach could be selected, which would involve a multilateral trust fund. The study endorses the latter, because the market approach would negatively affect the customary practices of farmers with regard to seeds and propagating material, and because of the anticipated transaction costs. It concludes with a discussion of the funding scope appropriate for in situ conservation through a multilateral trust fund as one means to recognize farmers' rights. Farmers' rights are defined as 'the right to recognition for contributing to the common welfare by providing genetic resources' (p. 2).
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Nepal. Photo: Regine Andersen, FNI