Farmers’ crop varieties and farmers’ rights: Challenges in taxonomy and law
This book (PDF), published by Routledge, examines policies that aim to increase the share of benefits that farmers receive when others use the crop varieties that they have developed and managed, i.e., ‘farmers’ varieties’. In so doing, the book addresses two fundamental questions. The first question is ‘how do farmer management practices – along with other factors such as environment and the breeding systems of plants – affect the evolution and maintenance of discrete farmers’ varieties?’ The second question is ‘how can policies that depend on being able to identify discrete plant varieties accommodate the agricultural realities associated with the generation, use and maintenance of farmers’ varieties?’ This focus on discreteness is topical because there are no fixed, internationally recognized taxonomic or legal definitions of farmers’ varieties. And that presents a challenge when developing policies that involve making specific, discrete farmers’ varieties the subject of legal rights or privileges. The book includes case studies from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe where, in response to a diversity of contributing factors, there have been efforts to develop policies that provide incentives or rewards to farmers as stewards of farmers’ varieties in ways that are sensitive to the cultural, taxonomic and legal complexities involved. The book situates these initiatives in the context of the evolving discourse and definition of ‘farmers’ rights’, presenting insights for future policy initiatives.