The ninth session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), which concluded here on Saturday, has adopted a resolution on implementation of farmers’ rights in about 150 member countries.
The meeting called upon the signatories to update inventory of national measures, best practices and lessons learnt for implementing farmers’ rights. The Treaty’s secretariat was also requested to publish the options for realisation of rights of farmers.
Sunil Archak, ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, was appointed as the co-chair, along with Michael Ryan, Department of Agriculture, Canberra, Australia, on the working group on ‘Enhancement of the Multilateral System (MLS)’. India has been maintaining that the MLS is essential for the conservation of plant and food resources.
“A fully functional user-friendly and simple MLS is crucial for the success of the ITPGFRA. Elements of enhancement would include measures for increased benefit sharing mechanism, expansion of crops and accessions available through the MLS, while also taking into cognisance changes in scientific, technical and policy environment globally,” the Union Agriculture Ministry said in a statement.
The Ministry said a consensus was evolved on implementation of farmers’ rights after extensive negotiations at the governing body. “Based on meetings in the last five years of Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on farmers’ rights, co-chaired by RC Agrawal and Svanhild Isabelle Batta Torheim (Norway) and the working group/plenary deliberations during the GB9 meeting, a resolution on implementation of farmers rights under Article 9 was finally agreed upon ensuring equilibrium and justice,” the statement said.
The governing body urged the member countries to update inventory of national measures, best practices and lessons learnt for national implementation of farmers’ rights under the Treaty, as per the national legislation. India’s experience under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001, where farmers’ rights are well balanced with plant breeders rights were included in the resolution, the statement added.
“The governing body also called upon the Treaty Secretariat to include in its multi-year programme of work (MYPOW) for possible impact of digital sequence information (DSI) on farmers’ rights,” the Ministry said.