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RESOURCES:

Options for the Implementation of Farmers' Rights at the National Level

Correa, Carlos (2000):
Options for the Implementation of Farmers' Rights at the National Level
South Centre: Working Paper 8, December 2000

Summary

This report is among the first to be written after the adoption of the text on farmers' rights in 1999, which was to become the final formulation of Article 9 in the International Treaty. After considering the origin of the concept of farmers' rights, and how it has been incorporated in international regimes and national regulations, Correa explores in greater detail the rationale behind the concept. On this background, the relationship between farmers' rights and intellectual property rights is explored, before various proposals for the contents and implementation of farmers' rights are discussed.

Correa concludes that farmers' rights may be seen as a 'moral recognition to farmers' past and present contributions to making agriculture sustainable', as well as 'concrete instruments to protect and promote traditional farming activities and communities' culture and lifestyles' (p. 41). The possible scope and characteristics of the suggestions provided in the International Treaty on how governments can protect and promote farmers' rights need to be further developed, in order to provide more concrete guidelines to governments on how best to comply with their responsibilities in this field, he suggests. Work on realizing farmers' rights will also require capacity building, training, transfer of technology and a fair reward for farmers' contributions, among other things. Nevertheless, 'there seem to be a gradual movement from the realm of ideas towards the design of such measures that can be realized in practice and which supports and promotes farmers' activities in the conservation and improvement of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture' (pp. 41-42).

Correa's report contains an overview over national legislation and proposed legislation from several countries, with provisions pertaining to farmers' rights. It further lists and discusses the possible content of and measures for farmers' rights, and provides a detailed account of possible measures to establish national legislation on farmers' rights according the International Treaty. It is therefore a valuable source book regarding implementation of the provisions on farmers' rights in the International Treaty.
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