Agrobiodiversity and Farmers'
|Swaminathan, M. S. (ed.)
Agrobiodiversity and Farmers' Rights
a Technical Consultation on an Implementation Framework for Farmers' Rights
(Delhi: Konark Publishers Pvt Ltd)
The technical consultation
on which this book is based addressed the issue of how the equity provisions of
the CBD and the concept of farmers' rights could be developed in FAO. Facts and
viewpoints were contributed by experts and stakeholders from many countries,
involving representatives from the plant breeding industry, public sector
breeding institutions, farmers, various international organizations (e.g. FAO,
WTO and UPOV), research institutions and NGOs.
The book starts out with
a comprehensive background paper prepared by José
Esquinas-Alcázar titled 'The Realization of Farmers' Rights', outlining
the rationale for farmers' rights, a list of suggested components and the state
of negotiations. One of the conclusions is that present inequities will
increase and current forces driving genetic erosion most likely be magnified if
farmers' rights are not implemented at the international level
The volume proceeds with a section on the national and
international context of farmers' rights as seen from highly different
perspectives, before it focuses on the relationship between plant variety
protection and the CBD. In the latter context the current status of plant
variety protection in several countries in the South and the North is
highlighted. On this basis, viewpoints from private and public plant breeding
institutions are presented, and then the views of tribal and rural
farmer-conservers are highlighted. A need for resource centres on farmers'
rights is identified.
In conclusion, detailed recommendations are
presented. It is recommended that farmers' rights should involve the free
choice of, and access to, germplasm; the freedom to sell harvested produce and
to improve cultivars; the ability to influence future breeding efforts; access
to technologies and training; the ability of farming communities to control
access to agrobiodiversity under their custodianship; economic incentives to
continue to conserve agrobiodiversity; and recognition of past and present
achievements (pp. 193-195). Concrete steps are suggested, inter alia in terms
of the development of national legislation and with regard to negotiations at
the international level.