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New Book Shows How Farmers' Rights to Crop Genetic Resources Can Be Realized

Regine Andersen and Tone Winge: Realising Farmers' Rights to Crop Genetic Resources(25.09.2013) Farmers' Rights to crop genetic resources are essential for maintaining agricultural biodiversity. FAO's International Plant Treaty (ITPGRFA) recognizes Farmers' Rights, but implementation is slow, and in many countries there is resistance.

As part of FNI' long-running project on Farmers' Rights, FNI Senior Research Fellow Dr. Regine Andersen and Research Fellow Tone Winge have documented success stories and best practices in getting Farmers' Rights implemented.

These are presented in their new book Realizing Farmers' Rights to Crop Genetic Resources, which is launched today. The book shows the necessity of realizing Farmers' Rights for poverty alleviation and food security, Regine Andersenthe practical possibilities of doing so, and the potential gains for development and society at large. It provides decision-makers and practitioners with a conceptual framework for understanding Farmers' Rights and success stories showing how each of the elements of Farmers' Rights can be realized in practice. The success stories have brought substantial achievements as regards one or more of the four elements of Farmers' Rights: the rights of farmers to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed; the protection of traditional knowledge; benefit- sharing; and participation in decision-making.

Tone WingeThis does not mean that these examples are perfect. Challenges encountered on the way are conveyed and offer important lessons. The stories represent different regions and localities, including Europe (Norway and Spain), Asia (Syria, India, Nepal, Japan and the Philippines), Africa (Mali, Ethiopia and Zimbabwe) and Latin America (Peru), as well as various categories of stakeholders and types of initiatives and policies.

Book endorsements

Bert Visser, Centre for Genetic Resources, Wageningen University and Research Centre, The Netherlands:
'This book meticulously documents the progress of initiatives undertaken to shape the Farmers' Rights described in the International Treaty, taking the need to provide legal space for Farmers' Rights as the point of departure. With its suggestions for future work, it is a wealth of information for all concerned about and engaged in strengthening farmers' continuing role in maintaining crop diversity.'

José Esquinas-Alcázar, Director and Chair of Studies on Hunger and Poverty, University of Córdoba, Spain and Former Secretary of the FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture:
'This book is indispensable for decision-makers and practitioners dealing with agriculture and food production. It illustrates from the theory to the practice how Farmers' Rights can and need to be implemented in order to ensure the continuous conservation and development of agro-biodiversity in the twenty-first century. As such it is a milestone for the realization of Farmers' Rights.'

Michael Halewood, Bioversity International:
'This is an excellent book for people who are interested in knowing what Farmers' Rights can actually look like on the ground. By presenting success stories, Andersen and Winge take a positive, proactive approach to analyzing achievements in an area that is still, unfortunately, fraught with challenges, setbacks and relatively slow progress. A wide range of actors involved in Farmer Rights' advocacy and policy development at local, national and international levels will benefit from the case studies and overall analysis this book provides.'


Further information:
   Book presentation at the publisher's website
   Read more about FNI's research on biodiversity
   The Farmers' Rights Project website
   Contact person at FNI: Tone Winge
 The Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) is an independent foundation engaged in research on international environmental, energy, and resource management politics.
The Institute maintains a multi-disciplinary approach, with main emphasis on political science, economics, and international law.

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