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STATE OF FARMERS' RIGHTS PER TOPIC:

Farmers' Rights and protection of traditional knowledge

Protection of traditional knowledge relevant to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture is one of the possible measures for the implementation of Farmers' Rights, as set out in Paragraph 9.2.a of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Most countries in the South which have accounted for the protection of farmers' traditional knowledge relevant to Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture in their legislation have done so through legislation pertaining to the protection of biological diversity in general. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Vietnam and Chile are examples here. Several countries have provisions pertaining to the protection of farmers' traditional knowledge in their regulations on access to genetic resources - for example, the Philippines and Ethiopia. Some countries have accounted for such protection in legislation pertaining to indigenous peoples, as in Peru. A few countries have relevant provisions in their legislation on plant variety protection. India has passed far-ranging legislation that deals explicitly with Farmers' Rights in such a context. Several countries are in the process of issuing legislation on Farmers' Rights, including the protection of farmers' traditional knowledge. Nevertheless, little has been achieved in terms of protection with regard to implementing such legislation.

Whereas such legislation is more related to an ownership approach to Farmers' Rights, there are also several measures that fall under a stewardship approach (more about the two approaches >). Typically these concern documentation and maintenance of the knowledge and activities related to gene banking. Many projects and programmes are being carried out in the South, often by NGOs, and often supported by NGOs in the North. They provide examples of how farmers' traditional knowledge can be protected.

In the North, the picture is somewhat different: The protection of farmers' traditional knowledge relevant to Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is usually not subject to legislation here, but is dealt with in government programmes aimed at protecting such knowledge from extinction. Such programmes are normally coordinated by the authorities, but there are also examples of private initiatives in this regard.

Read more:
   Success stories on traditional knowledge related to agro-biodiversity
   Legislation database



Pages in this sub-section:
   STATE OF FARMERS' RIGHTS PER TOPIC
   Protection of traditional knowledge
   Equitable benefit sharing
   Participation in decision processes
   Rights to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed
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 In this section:
  STATE OF FARMERS' RIGHTS
  State of Farmers' Rights per topic
  State of Farmers' Rights per country
  Key barriers to Farmers' Rights
  Options for realizing Farmers' Rights

Photo: Development Fund