Farmers’ Rights in Times of Change: Illusion or Reality?

In W.S. de Boef, A. Subedi, N. Peroni, M. Thijssen and E. O'Keeffe (eds), Community Biodiversity Management: Promoting Resilience and the Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources. New York/London, Routledge, 2013, pp. 306-313.

This chapter is about farmers' rights as they are addressed in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. It discusses the progress that has taken place with regard to the implementation of these rights so far, and whether the realization of farmers' rights is an illusion or a reality. While awareness regarding the need to put farmers' rights into practice is increasing among many stakeholders and there are many examples at national and local levels that can be regarded as models for the further efforts and much has been achieved internationally with regard to developing a joint understanding of farmers’ rights and their importance, major incentive structures and regulations are often detrimental to the conservation and sustainable use and represent serious obstacles to the full implementation of farmers’ rights. Such structures and regulations often include legislation on the marketing of seed and propagating material. The chapter argues that without the implementation of farmers' rights, it will be almost impossible to maintain and further develop the world's plant genetic heritage and ensure that future generations will enjoy the benefits of it.

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