Plant Breeders’ Rights, Farmers’ Rights and Food Security: Africa’s Failure of Resolve and India’s Wobbly Leadership

Indian Journal of Law and Technology, Forthcoming

Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2018-17

24 Pages Posted: 16 May 2018

See all articles by Chidi Oguamanam

Chidi Oguamanam

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Date Written: May 3, 2018

Abstract

Since 2000s, Africa and India severally rejected the notion that UPOV’s 1991 standard of Plant Breeders Rights (PBRs) is the only route to fulfill their obligations under Article 27 of the TRIPs Agreement. Objecting to the exclusive focus of the UPOV regime on formal plant breeders, African countries, insisted on a holistic approach to plant breeders’ rights to include protection for rights of communities, farmers and their indigenous knowledge, innovation and practices. Consequently, under the African Union’s (AU) auspices, Africa proposed the Model Law for the Protection of the Rights of Local Communities and Breeders, and for Regulations of Access to Biological Resources. Self-evidently, the law not only recognizes the centrality of the smallholder indigenous and local community farmers on the continent’s food production, it also underscores the interconnections of biodiversity conservation, farmers’ rights, traditional knowledge, access and benefit sharing over genetic resources within then emergent international regimes. Nearly two decades after, Africa’s resolve has proven to be fickle. The continent has reversed itself and fully embraced the UPOV regime. At about the same time as the Model Law, India enacted the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001 – an instrument consistent with the spirit of Africa’s Model Law. Both regimes take into account the role of local farmers as the backbone of agricultural innovation, food production and food security in the developing world, including Africa and India, thereby further enhancing the idea of farmers’ rights in food and agriculture law and policy. This Article juxtaposes the circumstances around Africa’s failure of resolve and India’s wobbly experience over farmers’ rights. It calls attention to farmers’ rights as a site for a missed and yet potentially redeemable opportunity for both Africa and India to advance South-South solidarity for food security.

Keywords: Africa, India, Plant Breeders’ Rights, Plant Variety Protection, Farmers’ Rights, Traditional Agriculture, Agro-Biodiversity, Food Security, South-South Solidarity

JEL Classification: J11, J24, J43, K11, Q1

Suggested Citation

Oguamanam, Chidi, Plant Breeders’ Rights, Farmers’ Rights and Food Security: Africa’s Failure of Resolve and India’s Wobbly Leadership (May 3, 2018). Indian Journal of Law and Technology, Forthcoming ; Ottawa Faculty of Law Working Paper No. 2018-17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3173268

Chidi Oguamanam (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
54
Abstract Views
239
rank
372,900
PlumX Metrics