Article 9, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) recognizes the enormous contribution that the local and indigenous communities and farmers of all regions of the world, particularly those in the centers of origin and crop diversity, have made and will continue to make to the conservation and development of plant genetic resources which constitute the basis of food and agriculture production throughout the world. This webinar will focus on Farmers’ Rights as established in the ITPGRFA and presents a unique opportunity to share and exchange knowledge on the subject.
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
Given the central relevance of TK to African countries, it is necessary to design effective mechanisms for its protection. One key rising trend in TK lawmaking is its incorporation in bilateral and free trade agreements.
Unlike its West African neighbour, Ghana, where there is a flurry of debates around plant variety protection (PVP), there is silence on the subject in Nigeria. This silence is note-worthy because Nigeria has pending obligations under Article 27.3(b) of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to introduce a PVP system. However, the silence should not be equated with absolute legislative inactivity around the subject in the country. Indeed, from 2006, there have been unsuccessful attempts to introduce a PVP system through intellectual property (IP) law reforms.
While it may not be explicitly evident, several statutory tools are available to plant breeders to facilitate the protection of their creations in the market. The primary tool remains plant breeders’ rights (PBRs). An examination of legislation available in Kenya illuminates other mechanisms as well, these being seed certification requirements and anti-counterfeiting legislation.
Dr. Susan Isiko Štrba combines teaching and research with providing policy and legislative advice and technical training to governments, intergovernmental organisations and NGOs. She focuses mainly on intellectual property, trade and development.
Since TRIPS is extremely flexible on the PBRs regime to be adopted, they should obtain guidance from other balanced international instruments such as ITPGRFA. Further, they can obtain vital lessons from states such as India.