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How far the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001 is successful in safeguarding the interests of the farmers and breeders. Examine in the light of recent controversy in Gujarat.

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  1. Discuss about the PPV&FR Act.
  2. Issue of the Pepsico with Gujarat potato farmers.
  3. Protection of farmers rights.
  4. Provide a befitting conclusion.
Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001:
It recognizes the contributions of both commercial plant breeders and farmers in plant breeding activity and also provides to implement TRIPs in a way that supports the specific socio-economic interests of all the stakeholders including private, public sectors and research institutions, as well as resource-constrained farmers.

Rights under the PPV&FR Act, 2001:

Breeders Rights:
Breeders will have exclusive rights to produce, sell, market, distribute, import or export the protected variety. He can appoint agent/ licensee and may exercise for civil remedy in case of infringement of rights.

Researchers Rights:
A researcher can use any of the registered variety under the Act for conducting an experiment or research. This includes the use of a variety as an initial source of variety for the purpose of developing another variety but repeated use needs the prior permission of the registered breeder.

Farmers Rights:
  • A farmer who has evolved or developed a new variety is entitled to registration and protection in like manner as a breeder of a variety;
  • Farmer's variety can also be registered as an extant variety;
  • A farmer can save, use, sow, re-sow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001 in the same manner as he was entitled before the coming into force of this Act provided farmer shall not be entitled to sell branded seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001;
  • Farmers are eligible for recognition and rewards for the conservation of Plant Genetic Resources of land races and wild relatives of economic plants;
  • There is also a provision for compensation to the farmers for nonperformance of variety under Section 39 (2) of the Act, 2001 and
  • The farmer shall not be liable to pay any fee in any proceeding before the Authority or Registrar or the Tribunal or the High Court under the Act.
Pepsico and Gujarat potato farmers:
Pepsico claims that the four farmers in Gujarat are cultivating its registered potato varieties. This act is considered as illegal by Pepsico as they do not have prior permission from it. The company engages thousands of farmers on contract farming pattern for its raw material needs.

Protection of Farmers in India:
  • Article 27(3) of TRIPS allows WTO members to make exclusion of plants from patentability.
  • Indian Intellectual Properties Act does not consider the plants, seeds, varieties & species, and biological processes for production or propagation of plants as inventions.
  • The International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) is an intergovernmental organization set up to essentially protect the interest of corporate plant breeders. India is a party to the Convention.
  • International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) is the international law that recognizes farmers’ contributions in plant genetic resources for food and farming.
Thus the PPV&FR Act along with other regulations helps to protect the rights of the Indian farmers. The need of the hour is to create a better awareness of these provisions among the farming community. Well, informed farmers will prevent the exploitation by multinational biotechnology companies in the name of patents.

Suggest Corrections
Similar questions
Q. Q. With reference to the International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), consider the following statements:

1. It was formulated by the UN world Food programme.
2. One of the objectives of this treaty is to ensure the access and benefit sharing to the stakeholders.
3. India has enacted “Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act” to protect Farmers’ Rights and breeder’s rights on the lines of this treaty.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

Q. खाद्य और कृषि के लिए पादप आनुवंशिक संसाधनों की अंतर्राष्ट्रीय संधि (ITPGRFA) के संदर्भ में, निम्नलिखित कथनों पर विचार कीजिए:

1. यह संयुक्त राष्ट्र के विश्व खाद्य कार्यक्रम द्वारा तैयार की गयी थी।
2. इस संधि का एक उद्देश्य हितधारकों तक पहुंच और लाभ को साझा करना सुनिश्चित करना है।
3. भारत ने इस संधि की तर्ज पर किसानों और प्रजनकों के अधिकारों की रक्षा के लिए "पौधों की विविधता और किसानों के अधिकार (PPV&FR) अधिनियम" को लागू किया है।

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