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Coase, Pigou and the Potato: Whither Farmers' Rights?

Bertacchini, E. E. (2008):
Coase, Pigou and the Potato: Whither Farmers' Rights?
Ecological Economics, available online 17 March 2008


This article explores the realization of farmers' rights in order to reward farming communities for their contribution in conserving and developing crop genetic resources. Current proposals to realize farmers' rights follow both Coasean and Pigouvian approaches, which try to solve the public good dilemma generated by traditional farmers in supplying agrobiodiversity. However, this article claims that both these solutions not only may be difficult to realize but also provide incomplete incentives to traditional farmers in enhancing in situ genetic diversity. In analogy with emerging open source models in the digital information economy, the author contends that traditional farming systems, with the customary practices of seed saving and exchange, must be regarded as a commons based peer organization for germplasmproduction and distribution. For this reason, new options for implementing farmers' rights should be devised in order to strengthen farmers' practices to use and exchange seeds within the traditional seed systems.

Article can be downloaded from this page.
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