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Farmers' Rights and Seed Programmes

Louwaars, Niels P. (2005)
Farmers' Rights and Seed Programmes
Seed Info – Official Newsletter of the WANA Seed Network, 28, pp. 2-3


This article provides a brief introduction to the concept of farmers' rights and the related provisions of the International Treaty and discusses its interrelations with breeding and seed production.

At the core of this discussion is the right to save, exchange and sell seeds from protected plant varieties. A broad interpretation of this right would imply that the public sector would have to continue investing in the development of new varieties and seed production in order to maintain incentive structures for these tasks. The alternative is to provide stricter boundaries for this right, e.g. concerning certain crops, for certain groups of farmers or for export products. It is also important not to overload the government systems with bureaucratic procedures in this regard. The author concludes that the entry into force of the International Treaty will not end the debate on farmers' rights, and that wide range of interests and issues will need to be taken into account in implementing the Treaty's provisions on farmers' rights.
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