A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
Interested in GIS?
Tuesday, December 10, 2002
Posted 5:01 PM by Luigi
An interesting analysis of the Challenges and lessons in plant variety protection for Africa by Phillipe Cullet of the International Environmental Law Research Centre:
What are the challenges that African countries face in adopting plant variety protection through intellectual property rights regimes? What lessons can African countries draw from the Indian experience? Africa Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) research suggests that the introduction of monopoly rights is not appropriate for most sub-Saharan countries. What plant variety protection regime would be suitable?
The issue of plant variety protection has become prominent since the adoption of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement. The Agreement requires that patents should be available for inventions in all fields of technology and specifically orders the introduction of a form of legal protection on plant varieties, but does not impose their protection through patents. However, African countries have generally been slow in taking up the challenges of devising plant variety protection measures.
The study suggests that African states should take advantage of the potential they have to devise a property rights system adapted to their own needs and conditions and should avoid any system involving the introduction of monopoly or exclusionary rights, such as patents or plant breeders’ rights. Generally, monopoly rights are likely to have a number of impacts on farmers’ agricultural practices and lives in sub-Saharan countries, including the following:
- Since in most sub-Saharan countries, subsistence agriculture remains dominant, it is impossible in this situation to assume that farmers innovate only to make a monetary profit.
- Farmers’ knowledge is often less individualistic than scientific knowledge produced in laboratories.
- One of the most direct impacts of patents is to raise the price of patented seeds compared to other seeds.
- Monopoly rights have the potential to conflict with established agricultural management practices of small holder farmers.
- Monopoly rights have generally not been known to foster conservation of biological diversity or promote its sustainable use.
In India, in the field of plant variety protection, the necessity to develop a response to TRIPS has led to a number of proposals by governmental and non-governmental institutions. The Indian experience is rich in lessons for the development of property rights regimes in African countries, including:
- Operating within a monopoly rights system which only regards state-of-the art knowledge, it is unlikely that local communities will substantially benefit from this new opportunity.
- Biodivesrity registers are an excellent tool to counter groundless patent applications.
- While plant variety legislation is the central element of a plant variety protection regime at the domestic level, it is not the only relevant piece of legislation.
Policy implications include:
- Inclusion of biosafety provision as part of plant variety protection legislation.
- A system aiming at providing food security and broadly fostering sustainable environmental management should establish property rights whose holders are not limited to one specific category of actor in agricultural management.
- An alternative system should recognise that the different actors do not all have the same motivation for innovating.
Source: "Plant Variety Protection in Africa: Towards Compliance with TRIPS Agreement", Biopolicy International 23, by P. Cullet, 2001
Funded by: African Centre for Technology Studies
Date: 4 November 2002
International Environmental Law Research Centre
14, rue Lissignol
Tel: + 41 22741 0442
Fax: + 41 22741 0442
* Comments:Post a Comment
Agrobiodiversity Weblog: For discussions of conservation and sustainable use of the genetic resources of crops, livestock and their wild relatives.