Farmers' Crop Varieties and Farmers' Rights : Challenges in Taxonomy and Law book cover
1st Edition

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

Edited By

Michael Halewood

ISBN 9781844078912
Published April 14, 2016 by Routledge
420 Pages 23 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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.

Table of Contents

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

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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)