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Title: Plant Variety Protection and Food Security: Lessons for Developing Countries
Authors: Singh, Harbir
Keywords: TRIPS
Plant Variety Protection (PVP)
Sui generis system
Plant breeders’ rights (PBRs)
Issue Date: Jul-2007
Publisher: CSIR
Abstract: One of the requirements of TRIPS Article 27.3(b) is that plant varieties should be protected either by patents or by an effective sui generis system or some combination thereof. The moot question is how plant variety protection could help ensure food security in developing countries? Research evidences from developed countries indicate differential impacts of plant breeders’ rights across crops. Increasing role of private sector in plant breeding was accompanied by appropriation strategies, and high level of market consolidation in seed industry resulted in higher seed prices. Though, rate of varietal release was increased but new varieties had a shorter life span. In case of developing countries, plant breeders’ rights facilitated access to improved foreign variety, in certain cases, but this contributed little to food security. Therefore, developing countries need to learn from such experiences and structure their PVP legislations in such a way which ensures food security and sustainable use of biodiversity. This could be achieved by strengthening public R&D support to agricultural research, maintaining crop genetic diversity, and developing localized seed production and delivery systems through efficient institutional mechanisms. This would go a long way towards conservation and sustainable utilization of plant genetic resources and ensuring food security at local, regional and national level. This paper contributes towards informed policy decisions to deal effectively with the possible implications of Plant Variety Protection (PVP) legislations on agriculture, particularly, on food security. At this juncture, it is difficult to quantify the magnitude of long-term impacts of PVP legislations because of lack of clear empirical evidences particularly from developing countries. However, lessons may be learnt from the working of PVP legislations in developed countries as well as from emerging evidences in developing countries. The paper draws from earlier findings to synthesize the plant variety protection implications for developing countries with particular reference to India, and outline suitable policy options.
Page(s): 391-399
ISSN: 0971-5544
Source:JIPR Vol.12(4) [July 2007]

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