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Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers’ Rights (PPVFR) Act, 2001

Plant Variety Protection

  • It refers to the protection granted for plant varieties.
  • These rights are given to the farmers & breeders to encourage the development of new varieties of plants.
  • Plant variety protection in India is governed by “The Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001”.

Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers’ Rights (PPVFR) Act, 2001

  • PPVFR Act, 2001 has been enacted in India for giving effect to the TRIPS Agreement.
  • The PPVFR Act retained the main spirit of TRIPS viz., IPRs as an incentive for technological innovation.
  • However, the Act also had strong provisions to protect farmers’ rights.
  • The act allows farmers to plant, grow, exchange & sell patent-protected crops, including seeds, & only bars them from selling it as “branded seed”.
  • It recognised three roles for the farmer: cultivator, breeder & conserver.
  • As cultivators, farmers were entitled to plant-back rights.
  • As breeders, farmers were held equivalent to plant breeders.
  • As conservers, farmers were entitled to rewards from a National Gene Fund.
  • After joining WTO in 1995, the choice before India was to either enact a law or to accept the plant breeders’ rights given by the International Union for Protection of New Plant Varieties (UPOV Convention).
  • UPOV option was earlier rejected because it denied the farmers the freedom to re-use farm-saved seeds & to exchange them with their neighbours.
  • However, in 2002, India joined the UPOV convention.

Objectives of the PPVFR Act

  • Facilitate an effective system for the protection of plant varieties & the rights of farmers.
  • Encourage the development of new varieties of plants.
  • Protect the rights of the farmers in respect of their contribution in conserving plant genetic resources.
  • Facilitate the growth of the seed industry which will ensure the availability of high quality seeds.

Criticism of PPVFR Act, 2001

  • Discourages research & innovation: PPVFR Act allows farmers to use patented varieties & hence private companies are not keen to bring new technology.
  • India neither invests in public sector nor respects private & foreign players’ IPR (bad for business).

IPR: Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) IPR: Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

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