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STATE OF FARMERS' RIGHTS PER TOPIC:

Farmers' Rights to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed

Farmers Rights to save, use, exchange and sell seed and propagating material from their own harvest are addressed in Paragraph 9.3 of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and agriculture.

Such practices are increasingly affected by regulations on plant breeders' rights and on the certification of seeds for sale. Generally, Farmers' Rights with regard to such practices are most restricted in the North, and least restricted in Africa. In Asia and Latin America, there are many examples of regulations in this context, but these tend to have wider exemptions for farmers than in the North. The recognition of Farmers' Rights in India's legislation has received much attention of late, due to the wide exemptions for farmers, combined with farmers' intellectual property rights. The legislation in Bangladesh has received less attention, but it appears highly interesting because it promotes plant breeding for the public domain, i.e. for the free use of farmers.

In the North, there are strict regulations on intellectual property rights as well as seed certification. Often farmers are not allowed to use farm-saved seed on their own holdings, or they must pay a licence fee to do so. In addition, seed laws establish strict conditions for exchange or sale of seeds and propagating material of traditional varieties. Such regulations pose serious barriers for farmers' stewardship and innovations in agriculture. In the European Union, interesting measures have been discussed to solve this problem by allowing the marketing and sale of specified categories of plant varieties for such purposes. However, so far the proposal has not been adopted.

Read more:
   Success stories from the realization of the right to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed
   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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  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