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Farmers' Rights Related to Agrobiodiversity as a Means of Poverty Alleviation: Strategies of Civil Society Organisations

This project examines conditions for effective implementation of the provisions on Farmers' Rights in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), which is crucial for maintaining the global plant genetic heritage and for poverty alleviation. The focus is on strategies of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), as these are central actors in many developing countries, pushing for and shaping policies on Farmers’ Rights, and initiating projects for the purpose. It is vital to identify the patterns of CSO influence that contribute to the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes for the effective realisation of Farmers’ Rights.

In this project, the influence of CSOs on these processes is analysed in three developing countries where progress in Farmers’ Rights has been achieved: India, the Philippines and Zambia. The achievements are analysed with regard to their effectiveness in terms of the realisation of Farmers’ Rights combined with their relevance for poverty alleviation, before the influence of CSOs on these results will be analysed in detail. The patterns of CSO influence are identified and the conditions for these patterns determined as basis for an analysis of the scope for generalisation with regard to other developing countries.

Project leader: Regine Andersen

Project period: 2007-2012


Andersen, Regine and Tone Winge (eds), Realising Farmers' Rights to Crop Genetic Resources: Success Stories and Best Practices. Abingdon (UK), Routledge, 2013, 232 p.

Andersen, Regine and Tone Winge, 'Farmers’ Rights Project: Furthering agrobiodiversity as a means of poverty alleviation'. New Routes, No 3, 2012.

Andersen, Regine, 'The Plant Treaty - Crop Genetic Diversity and Food Security'. In Steinar Andresen, Elin Lerum Boasson and Geir Hønneland (eds), International Environmental Agreements: An Introduction. London/New York, Routledge, 2012, pp. 134-150.

Andersen, Regine and Tone Winge, 'Linking Community Seed Banks and Farmers’ Rights'. In Banking for the Future: Savings, Security and Seeds. Oslo, Development Fund, 2011, pp. 5-7.

FAO, Input paper submitted by Ethiopia based on Global Consultations on Farmers' Rights in 2010. Information Papers for the Fourth Session of the Governing Body of the ITPGRFA. IT/GB-4/11/Circ.1. Rome, The Secretariat of the ITPGRFA, 2011, 16 p.

Andersen, Regine, Norwegian Plant Variety Protection and Seed Laws: Lessons for South Asian Countries, Trade Insight, Vol 5, No 1, 2009, pp. 12-14.

Andersen, Regine, Information Paper on Farmers' Rights Submitted by the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Norway, based on the Farmers' Rights Project. Information Papers for the Third Session of the Governing Body of the ITPGRFA. IT/GB-3/09/Inf. 6, Add. 3. Rome/Tunis, The Secretariat of the ITPGRFA, 2009, 31 p.
 Related focal points of research:

   Biodiversity and genetic resources

Project funding:

   The Research Council of Norway (POVPEACE Programme)

 External cooperation partners:

   University of the Philippines, Los Baños
   Anitha Ramanna, India

Other related FNI projects:

   Governing Agrobiodiversity – Inter-Regime Conflicts on Plant Genetics and Developing Countries.
   The Farmers’ Rights Project: Implementing Farmers' Rights under the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Relevant FNI News:

Hvem bestemmer over frøene? ('Who Decides over the Seeds?') (22.12.2010) In Norwegian

Recent media coverage:

'Framgang for global planteavtale' ('Progress for the Global Plant Treaty'), Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture and Food news release, 21.03.2011. In Norwegian.

'Hvem bestemmer over frøene?' ('Who Decides over the Seeds?'),, 21.12.2010. In Norwegian.

'Biodiversity and Poverty Reduction: Who Controls the Seeds?', Science Daily, 27.10.2020.

'NORGLOBAL: Tematisk bredde i utviklingsforskningen' ('NORGLOBAL: Development Research Has Thematic Breadth'), Research Council of Norway News, 12.03.2010. In Norwegian.

'Ny webside om bønders rettigheter' ('New Website on Farmers' Rights'), Norwegian Genetic Resource Centre, 16 June 2008. In Norwegian.

Fridtjof Nansen Institute
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