FAO Seed Treaty Carries Hope, Addressing Country Contributions, Farmers Concerns
IP Watch, 30 March 2011

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: Funding mechanisms and farmers’ rights were among the issues that captured the attention of member countries of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture during the biannual meeting of its Governing Body, IP Watch reports. One of the main new developments was “a mounting interest and pressure on farmers’ rights under the Treaty,” Shakeel Bhatti, ITPGR Secretary, told IP Watch. There is an increasing interest of countries and civil society organisations in Article 9 of the Treaty, “which recognizes the farmers’ rights, subject to national laws and policies,” he said. “The Treaty adopted a resolution on farmers’ rights which requests the Secretary to convene regional workshops on farmers’ rights, compile experiences and best practices received from Contracting Parties on the implementation of farmers’ rights, and to seek assistance from appropriate sources in the provision of financial and technical support to national governments for the realization of farmers’ rights,” Bhatti said. During the meeting, farmers’ organizations were vocal in their concerns about farmers’ rights. La Via Campesina, an international peasants’ organization representing about 200 million farmers, said in a 16 March release, that there was a denial of farmers’ rights in many countries. Nothing suggests that industry will pay for benefit-sharing, they said, adding that most governments were implementing the rights of breeders in “denial of farmers’ rights.” Read the article …