Intellectual Property Rights, Agricultural Biotechnology and Food Security: Issues and Challenges in India
Sachin Kumar Sharma, Seema Bathla (eds.) Indian Agriculture Under Multilateral and Regional Trade Agreements- Competitiveness and Food Security 239-259 (Bookwell, Delhi, 2017), ISBN 978-93-86578-05-1
21 Pages Posted: 26 Oct 2020
Date Written: 2017
Intellectual property rights (IPRs) over agricultural biotechnology has been a subject of increasing importance in the aftermath of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). In modern agriculture, the focus is rapidly shifting to biotechnological means and resultant transgenic or genetically modified varieties. The ultimate rationale for plant IPRs is the enhancement of food security through the provision of new improved varieties and improved availability of seeds through private sector channels. In the arena of WTO Agriculture Negotiations, India advocates flexibility and domestic support, renegotiation and maintenance of appropriate tariff binding, special safeguards and several other ideas on the ground of food security. To adequately address the problem of food security, IPRs regime must adequately address the tripartite issues of food availability, access and appropriate utilization. Food security is directly linked to agro-biodiversity which is essential to promote resilience in farming. Agro-biodiversity is of primary importance for small holder and subsistence farmers as it ensures both income-generation and household food security. Some environmentalists are of the view that the TRIPs Agreement is the aspect of globalization, can be the biggest threat to people’s food security when combined with the opening up of the seed industry. Recognition of plant IPRs as an essential part of the package of agribusiness leads to TNC totalitarianism in agriculture. The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001, directly addresses the issues of protection of plant varieties, and rights of farmers and plant breeders in India. Since protection of plant varieties has a direct nexus with the sustainable use of biodiversity and food security the country has introduced legislation pertaining to the CBD in the form of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and also makes the necessary amendments in the Patent Act 1970. The development of science and technology especially agricultural biotechnology must be used in order to protect and promote human rights throughout the world. The reality is that developing countries can benefit from biotechnology innovation, particularly GM crops, if they have developed some capacity in tradition breeding and if they have regulatory frameworks such as bio-safety and IPRs in place. In this backdrop the present research aims to discuss the development of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) over agricultural biotechnology and its implications upon country’s food security. An attempt has also been made to give a brief account of the various legislative measures adopted at the national level, considering the development taking place at international level.
Keywords: Plant Genetic Resources, Intellectual Property Rights, Food Security, TRIPS Agreement, Agricultural Biotechnology, Biodiversity, Human Rights, Sustainable Development
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