1st Edition

Farmers' Crop Varieties and Farmers' Rights Challenges in Taxonomy and Law

Edited By Michael Halewood Copyright 2016
    420 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    420 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Over the last 50 years there has been a growing appreciation of the important role that farmers play in the development and conservation of crop genetic diversity, and the contribution of that diversity to agro-ecosystem resilience and food security. This book examines policies that aim to increase the share of benefits that farmers receive when others use the crop varieties that they have developed and managed, i.e., ‘farmers varieties’. In so doing, the book addresses two fundamental questions. The first question is ‘how do farmer management practices – along with other factors such as environment and the breeding systems of plants – affect the evolution and maintenance of discrete farmers’ varieties?’ The second question is ‘how can policies that depend on being able to identify discrete plant varieties accommodate the agricultural realities associated with the generation, use and maintenance of farmers’ varieties?’ This focus on discreteness is topical because there are no fixed, internationally recognized taxonomic or legal definitions of farmers’ varieties. And that presents a challenge when developing policies that involve making specific, discrete farmers’ varieties the subject of legal rights or privileges.

    The book includes contributions from a wide range of experts including agronomists, anthropologists, geneticists, biologists, plant breeders, lawyers, development practitioners, activists and farmers. It includes case studies from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe where, in response to a diversity of contributing factors, there have been efforts to develop policies that provide incentives or rewards to farmers as stewards of farmers’ varieties in ways that are sensitive to the cultural, taxonomic and legal complexities involved. The book situates these initiatives in the context of the evolving discourse and definition of ‘farmers' rights’, presenting insights for future policy initiatives.

    1. Introduction 

    Michael Halewood and Isabel Lapeña 

    Part 1: Dynamism in the Field: Factors Affecting the Evolution and Maintenance of Distinct Traits in Farmer’s Variety 

    2. Technical Challenges in Identifying Farmer Varieties 

    Jeremy Cherfas 

    3. The Farmers’ Role in Creating New Genetic Diversity 

    Carlo Fadda 

    Part 2: Case Studies at the Interface of Farmer Variety Enhancement Efforts and National Policies 

    4. Leveraging the Successful Participatory Improvement of Pokhareli Jethobudhu for National Policy Development in Nepal 

    Pratap Kumar Shrestha 

    5. Promoting Policy Support for the Enhancement and Marketing of Farmers’ Varieties in Vietnam 

    Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hue and Michael Halewood 

    6. Participatory Barley Breeding in Syria: Policy Bottlenecks and Responses 

    Salvatore Ceccarelli 

    Part 3: The International Policy Context: Global Systems of Conservation and Use and Farmers’ Rights   

    7. Historical Context: Evolving International Cooperation on Crop Genetic Resources 

    Regine Anderson 

    8. Farmers’ Rights: Evolution of the International Policy Debate and National Implementation 

    Regine Andersen 

    Part 4: Identifying Discrete Farmers’ Varieties in Law  

    9. Sui Generis IPR Protections for Farmers’ Varieties 

    Carlos Correa 

    10. Variety Registration: The Evolution of Registration Systems with a Special Emphasis on Agro-biodiversity Conservation 

    Niels Louwaars and François Burgaud 

    11. Defensive Protection of Farmers’ Varieties 

    Isabel López Noriega 

    12. Institutional Capacity and Implementation Issues in Farmers’ Rights 

    C.S. Srinivasan 

    Part 5: Case studies of National Laws 

    13. Commentary on the Indian Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act 2001 

    Dwijen Rangnekar 

    14. Commentary on the Malaysian Protection of New Varieties Act 2004 

    Lim Eng Siang  

    15. Commentary on Egypt’s Law on the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights 

    Mohammed Eid Megeed 

    16. Commentary on Thailand’s Plant Varieties Protection Act 

    Gabrielle Gagne and Chutima Ratanasatien 

    17. Commentary on the Zambian Plant Breeders’ Rights Act 

    Godfrey Mwila 

    18. Commentary on the Nepalese Seeds Act and the Seeds Regulation 

    Pratap Shrestha  

    19. Variety Regulation in the United State of America 

    Richard J. Blaustein 

    20. Commentary on Law no. 10711 Regulating the Brazilian National Seed and Seedling System 

    Juliana Santilli 

    21. Commentary on Variety Registration Regulation in Italy 

    Alejandro Mejias, Enrico Bertacchini and Riccardo Bocci 

    22. Commentary on the Zambian Plant Variety and Seeds Act, 1998 

    Godfrey Mwila 

    23. Commentary on the Regulation on Management of Farm Households' Plant Varieties in Vietnam 

    Nguyen Van Dinh and Nguyen Ngoc Kinh 

    24. Commentary on the Registry of Native Crops in Peru: Law 28477 and the Registry of Native Potatoes 

    Manuel Ruiz Muller 

    25. Analysis of the Draft Proposal for the Establishment of a Special System for the Registry and Commercialization of Native Seeds (Farmers’ Seeds) in Costa Rica 

    Jorge Cabrera Medaglia 

    26. Registration of Traditional Varieties under Benin Seed Regulation 

    Raymond Vodouhe with Michael Halewood


    Michael Halewood is a senior scientist and leader of the Genetic Resources Policies, Institutions and Monitoring Group at Bioversity International, Rome, Italy.

    "Putting farmers’ rights at the centre of policy initiatives is crucial for agricultural biodiversity in ACP countries. This book is a valuable contribution to the complex yet worthwhile project to conserve farmers’ diverse crop varieties." - Spore (2016, issue 181)