Farmers' Rights Project
Farmers' Rights are a precondition for the maintenance of crop genetic diversity, which is the basis of all food and agriculture production in the world. Basically, realizing Farmers' Rights means enabling farmers to maintain and develop crop genetic resources as they have done since the dawn of agriculture, and recognizing and rewarding them for this indispensable contribution to the global pool of genetic resources.
Plant genetic diversity is probably more important for farming than any other environmental factor, simply because it is the factor that enables adaptation to changing environmental conditions such as plant diseases and climate change. Thus, as a precondition for the maintenance of this diversity, Farmers' Rights are crucial for ensuring present and future food security in general, and in the fight against rural poverty in particular.
This website is about Farmers' Rights as they are addressed in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The Treaty recognizes the enormous contributions made by farmers worldwide in conserving and developing crop genetic resources, and it provides for measures to protect and promote these rights.
Definition of Farmers' Rights
The International Treaty does, however, not define Farmers' Rights. The following is a working definition developed on the basis of the research of the Farmers' Rights Project and can be seen as a lowest common denominator of all stakeholders consulted and all documents and literature surveyed:
Farmers' Rights consist of the customary rights of farmers to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed and propagating material, their rights to be recognized, rewarded and supported for their contribution to the global pool of genetic resources as well as to the development of commercial varieties of plants, and to participate in decision making on issues related to crop genetic resources.