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Title: Farmers' Rights in Conserving Plant Biodiversity with Special Reference to North-East India
Authors: Chakravarty, Sumit
Shukla, Gopal
Malla, Suman
Suresh, C P
Keywords: Farmers’ right
Plant biodiversity conservation
North East India
Issue Date: May-2008
Publisher: CSIR
Abstract: Traditional plant varieties and wild species are disappearing irreversibly and this process has resulted in the disappearance of farming know-how and the genetic information is entailed. North Eastern states of India are also no exception in regards to genetic erosion. This is because the rights of communities, food producers and herbalists to these genetic resources are not recognized. Only with adequate recognition, protection and reward will these resources be conserved and appropriate compensation is granted to the communities. Central to this is the right to ‘Prior Informed Consent’, ensuring communities to know what they are agreeing to. A means must be found to reconcile conservation and development by involving local populations more closely in the decision-making process and by taking the interactions between ‘societies’ and biodiversity more fully into account. The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights (PVPFR) Act rightfully takes this into account. The Indian legislation is the first in the world to grant formal rights to farmers in a way that their control over genetic resources and their self-reliance in agriculture is not jeopardized. The innovative Indian legislation has opened up interesting possibilities for developing a platform for regulating breeders’ and farmers’ rights so that both are acknowledged and protected. The Indian law now recognizes the farmer not just as a cultivator but also as a conserver of gene pool and a breeder who has bred several successful varieties. Moreover, the recognition of tribal laws as tribal rights vis-à-vis farmers’ rights will address the conflicts between customary and statutory laws and regulations related to forest ownership and natural resource use while ensuring conservation of genetic resources by the local communities of the North East.
Page(s): 225-233
ISSN: 0971-5544
Source:JIPR Vol.13(3) [May 2008]

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