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International Seed Treaty

  • 12 Nov 2019
  • 3 min read

Why in News

The eighth session of the Governing Body of International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) is being held in Rome, Italy from 11th to 16th November 2019.

Key Points

  • The Governing Body sessions are held biennially.
  • India highlighted the need for conservation of plant genetic resources and the uniqueness of Indian legislation Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act to address the related issues.

International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

  • It was adopted by the 31st session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations on 3rd November 2001.
  • Objective:
    • Farmers’ Contribution: To recognize the contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops,
    • Access and Benefit Sharing: Establish a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials,
    • Sustainability: To conserve and sustainably use plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of their use, in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • It is also known as Seed Treaty as it is a comprehensive international agreement for ensuring food security through the conservation, exchange and sustainable use of the world's Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA).
  • India is a signatory to the treaty.

Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001

  • It aims to protect Farmers’ and breeder’s rights.
  • According to the act, a farmer is entitled to save, use, sow, resow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001 except the brand name.
  • The Act is compliant to Article-9 of the Seed Treaty.
  • Under the provisions of this Act, 138 farmers/farming communities have been awarded with the Plant Genome Saviour Awards by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority.
    • The award is given annually to the farmers engaged in the conservation of genetic resources of landraces (dynamic populations of a cultivated plant) and wild relatives of economic plants and their improvement.
  • A few months back in April 2019, PepsiCo sued Gujarati farmers by invoking the provisions of the act.

Source: PIB

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