Patenting in Agriculture by KyJg7XE


									                 Patenting in Agriculture
           (An Analysis of Strengths, Weakness,
                Opportunities and Threats)
                                     Booklet No. 599
                      Agricultural Planning and Policies: APPS - 7
I.     Introduction
II.    GATT to WTO
III.   GATT and Agriculture
IV.    TRIPS in Agriculture
V.     SWOT Analysis
           A. Strengths
           B. Weaknesses
           C. Opportunities
           D. Threats: Biopiracy
VI.    Conclusion


         Farming community in particular and the concerned people in general are having a fear
as well as confusion about the consequences of patenting in agriculture. India is still in a
transition period and trying to evolve consensus on various issues through countrywide
discussions and debates. This booklet is an effort to analyse strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities and threats that arise from Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights in agriculture
for the benefit of a common man.

Dr. K. T. Chandy, Agricultural & Environmental Education

I. Introduction

         Intellectual Property Right (IPR) and Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs)
are the two sides of the same coin. These are the part of GATT agreement to which India is one
of the member. Under this agreement, India will have to amend its present Patent Act, so that
intellectual property transactions may be protected and done as per GATT guidelines. Now the
question arises "What is intellectual property"? Under this law any new invention or research
done by a person will be patented in the name of that researcher or organisation or company or
country. Any transaction or multiplication of the patent product or procedure will be con- trolled
by the patent holder and he will be getting his share from that transaction. This whole
agreement of GATT and specially IPR is having far reaching implications on Indian agriculture.

        More than 70 % of Indian population is living in rural areas and agriculture is still
employing 67 % of the total man power in India. However, the contribution of agriculture to
Gross Domestic Product has come down to nearly 28% during year 1996-97. It is not because
growth of this sector is not reaching the targets but due to negligence of this sector at policy
making level and more emphasis on industrialization of the country. Agriculture is also
influenced from this trend of industrialization and progressive fanners now prefer to grow export
oriented crops rather than food crops. In this regard GATT agreement will be having far
reaching impacts on indian agriculture in particular and agriculture in third world countries in
general. In this context it would be appropriate to trace the history of GATT and its process to
WTO, so that a common man can understand the text easily.


         General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is an international forum established in
1948 to oversee the smooth conduct of world trade by preventing trade related conflicts and
reducing trade barriers. In the beginning there were 23 member countries. It is both a code of
rules for international trade and also a forum in which countries can discuss and find solutions to
their trade problems.

         In order to liberalize world trade and to strengthen the multilateral trading system, the
member countries of GATT agreed to hold multilateral trade, negotiations of trade rounds on
identified issues. Among these the 8th round known as Uruguay Round concluded in Geneva
on December 15, 1993, is very significant This was the most ambitious of the trade rounds
under GATT as it not only covered issues related to trade in goods but also covered issues like
intellectual property rights, investment and services etc. It was the first time that the agricultural
support and protection were given much prominence in a trade negotiation. An agreement was
finally reached in Geneva and the [mal act was signed in Marrakesh, Morocco on April 15, 1994
by trade ministers of 124 governments including India. The final act embodies the results of the
Uruguay round and paves the way for setting up of the World Trade Organization with effect
from January 1, 1995. The chronology of discussion held ever since its inception, along with
year, venue, number of participants and major agreements held under GATT are given in table
1. This table gives a total idea about GATT to WTO.

                         Table 1: Chronology of Discussion under GATT

   Sl.No    MTN/year              Place         No.of            Achievements
   1        First Round 1947      Geneva        23               20 tariff schedules, tariff cuts
                                                                 for 45,000 products
   2        Second Round          Annecy        33               Customs duties reduced on
            1949                  France                         another 5000 litres
   3        Third Round           Torquary      38               Adopted 8700 tariff reductions
            1950-51               Britain
   4        Fourth Round          Geneva        26               $ 2.5 billion worth of tariff
            1955-56                                              reduction
   5        Fifth Round The       Geneva        26               Cut in customs duties on
            Dillon Round                                         4,400 items
   6        Sixth Round The       Geneva        62               More than 50 countries
            Kennedy Round                                        accounting for 75% world
            1964-67                                              trade cut tariffs on industrial
                                                                 goods worth $ 40 billion by up
                                                                 to 50%. Agreements on
                                                                 grains and code of anti-
                                                                 dumping actions, etc signed
   7        Seventh Round         Geneva        99               Cut customs duties 20-30%
                                                                 covering more than $ 300
                                                                 billion of trade. Lowered the
                                                                 weighted average tariffs on
                                                                 manufactured goods in the
                                                                 world’s nine biggest industrial
                                                                 markets from 7% to 4.7%.
                                                                 Negotiated on improved
                                                                 trading framework made up of
                                                                 codes covering subsides,
                                                                 technical barriers to trade
                                                                 government procurement,
                                                                 customs valuation and other
   8        Eighth Round          Geneva       117               Tariffs on industrial goods will
            The Uruguay                                          be cut by over a third and
            Round 1986-93                                        farm exports subsidies and
                                                                 import barriers will be
                                                                 substantially reduced.
                                                                 Agreements reached on
                                                                 agriculture, textiles and
                                                                 clothing TRIPs, services

III. GATT and Agriculture

        During Uruguay round or what is known as eighth Round, for the first time agricultural
goods were brought into under the net of international trade negotiations. During the
negotiations at International level it was for first time that the developing countries were divided
into, the least developed countries and developing countries. The least developed countries
have been offered certain concessions in the matter of protection of their domestic economy
and they will not be required to undertake commitments and concessions which are inconsistent
with their individual development, financial and trade needs.

        There are two angles to look at the agreement: one is the political economy and other is
third world economy. Political economy angle envisages a surrender of sovereignty of the third
world countries including India and re-emergence of economic imperialism in the guise of the
world trade agreements. According to the other angle, third world economy is over protected
resulting in technological backwardness. If their economy is to be developed then their industrial
sector must upgrade its technology to international standards.

        In its original form GATT is a treaty for trade in goods. Political economy crept in with the
inclusion of agriculture, subsidy, services, patents, investments, environmental, and social
issues, trade related intellectual property rights, etc. in trade agenda; some of which are
extraneous to sovereignty of a country which is not a tradable commodity or service. History has
shown that in an unequal world the rich countries always tried to dominate the poor countries
through their aggressiveness in all kinds of trade wars. Though new GATT accord ensures ,free,
non-discriminatory and equitable trade but there is still doubt that developing countries will be
getting their share and will be dealt effectively with equality.

        The important sectors included in the agreement are agricultural, sanitary and phyto-
sanitary measures, textiles and clothing, technical barriers to trade related aspects of
investment measures, anti-dumping custom valuation, pre-shipment inspection, import licensing
procedures, subsidies and counter vailing measures, general agreement in trade; in services,
trade related aspects of intellectual property rights etc.

         Though the pro GATT lobby of agriculture sector see their success in bringing
agriculture under new GATT accord, they put the argument that agricultural prices in the country
will increase enabling to boost agri-exports to developed countries as competitiveness increase.
This will open up market access and opportunities for India's exports. Pro-GATT, lobby is
forgetting the fact that India shall be requiring about 210 million tones of food grains to remain
self sufficient by the end of this century. In this scenario, there would be hardly any scope for
export of food grains. Another threat to food security is posed by intellectual property rights. The
high cost of patented agricultural inputs like biofertilizers, biopesticides and all genetically
engineered seeds will drive out small and marginal farmers due to their low purchasing power.

IV. TRIPs in Agriculture

         There are widely varying standards in the protection and enforcement of intellectual
property rights among the member countries. The agreement on trade related aspects of
intellectual property right sets out general provisions and basic principles, notably national
treatment commitment. Under this commitment the nationals of other countries must be given
equal treatment as given to its national with regard for the protection of intellectual properties. It
also embodies a most favoured national clause a novelty in an international intellectual property

        The TRIPs agreement covers several types of intellectual properties, patents,
copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, industrial designs, geographical indications and
integrated circuits. Of these seven, it is only in the area of patents the Indian laws and
regulations or policies differ significantly from International standards. A patent is given for an
invention. To quality for a patent an invention must satisfy three fundamental criteria: (1) it must
be a new one; (2) involve an inventive step and; (3) be useful in agriculture or industry.

         An invention will be regarded as new only if it was not known or used or made public any
where in the world before filing of the patent application. An invention will be regarded as
involving an invention step only if it would not have been obvious to someone with a good
knowledge and experience of the subject matter. Anything existing or used cannot be given for
intellectual property protection.

V. SWOT Analysis

        By SWOT analysis is the analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and
threats of anything, with regard to GATT. The new GATT rules make it necessary for India to
modify its patent law by introducing the product. It will give the patent holder exclusive
marketing rights for a particular product. Anybody else seeking to manufacture and sell the
product would have to establish that there has been no violation of the patent holder's right.

A. Strengths
         Perhaps, throughout the world, India is the only country which has got a diverse ecology
ranging from tropical subtropical arid and temperate, with a wide range of biodiversity. It has a
geographical area of about 329 million hectares which is quite rich in numerous species of flora
and fauna. As many as 45,000 plant species and 75,000 animal species including lower forms
of life are existing in Indian biodiversity. Biological extinction is a natural phenomenon and the
rate of extinction was one species every 1000 years. But due to intervention of human being,
this rate has increased up to one species every year. This loss of biodiversity has become a
problem at global level. India's immense biological wealth, the basic raw material for the
biotechnological revolution, is increasingly being stolen and even patented. It is only a matter of
time before India looses ownership rights over its huge store well of biological wealth if we do
not adopt protective measures. Patenting gives an opportunity for us to preserve and protect our

B. Weaknesses
        As a signatory to the GATT agreement India will have to make certain amendments in its
existing laws to facilitate the protection of intellectual property as per international standards.
While proposing amendments, policy makers will also have to safeguard the interests of its own
people and nation as a whole.

1. Amendments to Indian Patent Act 1970
        The Indian Patent Act 1970 grants only process patents in food, medicine, drugs and
substances provided by chemical processes (table 2). Under the TRIPs Agreement a transition
period of five years with effect from 1.1.95 is available to all developing countries for
implementing the provisions of TRIPs agreement. Moreover the countries that do not provide
product patent in certain areas, can avail a further transition period of five years. In total, a
period of ten years is available to India for making amendment in its patent act. Not withstanding
the transition period allowed as per article 70.8 and 70.9 of TRIPs agreement, the member
countries of WTO like India were required to provide a means for filing of applications for
product patents in the areas of pharmaceuticals and agricultural chemicals and on fulfillment of
certain conditions, grant exclusive rights for a period of five years or until patent is
granted/rejected, whichever is earlier. As the Indian Patent Act 1970, does not provide for the
grant of product patents inter alia in the field of agricultural chemicals, provisions had to be
made by amending the 1970 Act through an ordinance promulgated in 1994. A comparative
study is made in table 2 between India Patent Law and WTO promulgated text.

                   Table 2: Indian Patent Iaw vis-a-vis WTO Promulgated Text
   Sl.No      Indian law                                WTO promulgated text
   1          Provides only process patents and         Requires product patents to be
              does not provide product patents in       provided in all branches of
              food, pharmaceutical and chemical         technology
   2          Duration of patents is 7 yrs in case of   Provides for uniform duration of 20
              food and pharmaceutical sector and        yrs for all patents
              14 yrs in case of all other sectors
   3          Provides for automatic compulsory         Permits compulsory licensing on the
              licensing for food, pharmaceutical and merits of each case but the patent
              chemical sectors without patent holder holder will have to be heard
              being heard or even if the patent
              holder works his patent in India
   4          There is no system for protection of      Requires an effective ‘Sui generis’
              plant varieties in India                  system for protection of breeders
                                                        rights as well as farmers interests
   5          Does not allow patenting of life          Requires micro-organism patenting
   6          Importation does not amount to            Does not permit discrimination as
              working of the patent and domestic        between imported
              products in the matter of enjoyment of
              patent rights
   7          In case of process patents the burden     The WTO text places the burden of
              of proof is on the complainant            proof on the person charged with the
                                                        offence i.e the defendant has to
                                                        prove his innocence

2. Lack of consensus on Amendments
        Since the ordinance had to be replaced by an act of parliament but due to contradictions
within the cabinet members over certain proposed claws to be included in the act, it is still under
debate. There are continuous parleys to evolve consensus over the various issues. The change
which was first sought by Narasimha Rao Government as early as in 1995 and then later by
United Front Government faced stiff resistance in both the houses, Rajya Sabha and Lok
Sabha. The first transition period for providing provisions as per WTO guidelines will be over by
April 1999. As per the decision of the government, the patent office has been receiving product
patent applications in the field of food, medicines, drugs and substances and keeping them
unexamined. These are required to be taken up for examination by 2005 as per the terms of
TRIPs Agreement.

        As statement made by the government, it is considered to amend the Indian Patent Act
1970, to bring it in confortnity with the TRIPs agreement. It was proposed to undertake
measures for providing adequate safeguards to protect the interests of the people. It is also
expected to allay the fears that the floodgates to patent the genes, living organisms and product
derived from them might have been open. However, as a signatory to the Convention of Bio-
diversity (CBD) which ensures sovereign rights to a country on biological resources, India is
under no pressure to accept patenting of any life forms classified as plants and animals. It may,
however, have to agree to patenting of micro-organisms and products from
genetically engineered micro-organisms. As per the indications available, the government has
deferred the amendment of the Patents Act for the time being for incorporating wider

3. Regional disparity
        Though agriculture production in India under green revolution regime can not be
underestimated, yet the benefits were not shared equally by whole farming community.
Regional disparities in resource distribution is the outcome of the green revolution. Still in many
parts of India, traditional cultivation practices are prevalent. These are the potential areas which
needed attention not only in terms of supply of modem promising plant genetic materials but
also in terms of modem promising cultivation practices. Making farmers of these areas access
to better technology continues to be an important mission and a challenge for National
Agricultural Research System. To develop technologies for resource poor farmers (small and
marginal) it requires considerable capital for the collection, characterization and enhancement of
genetic material. The benefits take a long time to get materialized and are difficult to be
captured. Therefore, such investments have not been attractive to the private sector. This is the
reason that private sector is exclusively more active in vegetable and fruit seed sector and not
much, in fact, negligible in food grain sector. Yet with the rapid increase in population and also
income growth, much of the demand for food, feed and fibre can be met only by continued
increase in the productivity of per unit land per unit time and input. The situation also not at all
suitable due to increasingly scarce and often deteriorating land and water resources. Here the
increase in income growth is referred to the emergence of a large middle income group with
discerning taste and capable of paying for quality good at competitive price.
        Our agricultural sector is faced with a dual challenge of sustaining and enhancing the
quality of natural resources including germplasm as the only way to meet the growing domestic
demand and international competition. To meet these challenges rapidly advancing science
would be having considerable value in ensuring continued free access of the poor to the
emerging technologies and simultaneously conserving the vital germplasm for the use of plant

C. Opportunities
      Patenting do bring in several opportunities to our country. A few are mentioned here.

1. Plant variety protection system
        Different forms of protection of new plant varieties have been in existence in different
industrialized countries. International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV)
was established in 1961 to coordinate inter-country implementation of Plant Breeders Rights
(PBR). The objective was to coordinate different forms of protection available in the industrial
nations for few plant varieties developed by breeders. This was revised in 1978. The revised
convention while providing guidelines for protecting plant breeders rights also recognized
farmers privileges in using protected varieties for specific purposes. It laid down minimum
standards of protection that a national system should afford. It did not threaten farmers rights to
generate seeds of their choice on their farms. Protection of breeders rights did not preclude the
farmers from saving seeds of protected varieties for re-use or exchange. Protection of breeders,
rights was only in respect of protected seeds that have been produced for sale to others and did
not cover farm save seeds for actual use.

      The amendment of UPOV convention in 1991 has however, increased monopoly of
breeders rights. It contains an option exemption which provide that it is up to a national
government to decide whether to permit farmers to use seeds of a protected variety for
propagation on their own holdings.

       In this context, India should choose a system which will help in protecting the work of
Indian breeders and farmers and facilitate a mutually beneficial international collaboration.
According to Dr. M.S.Swaminathan, the system for India should consider economics and
ecology along with equity and employment. It must be pro-nature, pro-poor, pro-rural and pro-
women because women playa significant role in seed selection, saving and propagation. The
PBR legislation should retain breeders exemption, strengthen farmers privilege and provide a
mechanism to give operational context to the concept of Farmers Rights.

2. Fanners Rights
         The usual criteria for recognizing IPR generally tends to ignore indigenous knowledge,
the products of which provide the basic raw material for modem plant breeding and
biotechnology. Farmers and breeders from developing countries were found to be freely
providing genetic resources for Western plant breeding and seed companies in early 1980s.
The varieties developed on the basis of the freely supplied resources were being protected by
the companies through PBR. Free access thus became a one way subsidy of the poor to the
rich. To consider this issue, F AO had set up a commission on Plant Genetic Resources and the
concept of Farmers' Rights was adopted. The aim of the concept was to reward farmers who
have helped to conserve and select a large proportion of global genetic diversity in the crop
plants. There is a consensus on the need to develop a methodology to recognize and reward
intellectual contributions of farmers in relation to Plant Genetic Resources.
         Traditional farmers who have selected, improved and conserved biodiversity also have
intellectual property rights which need protection. History reveals that bio-diversity has been the
common property of local communities. The resources and knowledge among the local
communities is being exchanged freely. Indian farmers are campaigning for the protection of
their rights to seeds, trees and plants and are challenging corporate domination of agriculture.

        Farmers are helping to protect and expand plant resources of the South through
community seed banks. The Research Foundation for Science, Technology and National
Resources Policy, Dehradun is involved in setting up seed banks which are funded by the
farmers. These aim to improve indigenous seeds to maintain bio-diversity as an alternative to
the in- creasing reliance on high technology strains by major seed suppliers. A foundation,
Navadanya has been set up which has large network of farmers, environmentalists, scientists
and concerned individuals. There are similar other organizations spread in different states and
are working to protect Indian bio-diversity with the understanding that only ensuring local self
sufficiency can help farmers in reducing their dependence on commercial firms.

       Traditionally available varieties which are in cultivation and are found in India should
come under Farmers' Right and these should not be covered by any kind of patent or protection.
These should be freely available for farmers' use. These are the properties of the farmers who
have applied their skill and ingenuity to develop them and should be rewarded by plant breeders
for development of new genotype.

       A variety may contain land races or folk varieties from different parts of a country or
several countries which make it difficult to operate a system of farmers rights with international
scope under national law. Rural and tribal communities must be rewarded for their contribution
to successful plant breeding. UPOV in cooperation with FAO should work out an international
system of Farmers Rights.

D. Threats: Biopiracy
        Patenting brings in a few threats to us. The main threat comes in the form of biopiracy.
There is consensus at national and international level among public as well as among policy
makers on conserving agricultural biodiversity and it is an undisputed task. Both the Convention
on Biological Diversity (CBD) as well as the Leipzig Global Plan of Action (LGPA) commit
government to conserve biological diversity. For more than five years Ministry of Environment
and Forest, (MOEF), Govt. of India has been formulating a legal framework to protect the
country's biodiversity. But not even remotely concerned at the pace of sweeping biopiracy,
MOEF is still grouping in the dark. It is ICAR and CSIR that have been continuously at work in
chasing the challenges posed by biopirates. With current intellectual property protection
strategies, there in an increase in the collection of the plant and animal genetic material and
also in the filing of patents to protect genes, cloned genes, and methods of effective
transformations. With or without enactment of National Biodiversity Act proposed by MOEF,
patenting of life forms comes in to effect by year 2000. Since, India is rich in biodiversity, it
would become a target for patenting of life including micro-organisms. It is essential for the
nation and its policy makers to realize the importance and responsibility associated with
protecting the biological resources in the context of emerging bio-industry. The need of the hour
is to ensure sovereign rights are accorded over the rich biodiversity. The countries like Australia,
Philippines and Equador, India should also make a constitutional provision to provide ownership
rights for its biological wealth.

      Ownership rights like a patent, brings these resources under the monopoly control of the
government. But, the patency life is maximum of 10 years but ownership rights are life long. It is,
therefore, necessary to examine the possibility of inducting ownership clause in protecting
biodiversity vis-a- vis intellectual property rights, that are being enforced by multinational
biotechnological industry. It means, India first has to work out an economic price for its plants,
animals, and micro-organisms, that it has to realize from private companies. But at the same
time, ensure that the patents based on the indigenous bioresources do also have an in-built
system that brings a kind of royalty. Biopiracy is highlighted with a few examples.

1. Basmati piracy
        During September 1997, a patent has been granted to Ricetech Inc. a USA based
company by US Patent and Trade- mark Office on basmati lines and grains. The basmati variety
for which patent is granted to Ricetech Inc. is derived from , Indian basmati, crossed with semi
dwarf varieties including Indica varieties. The basmati varieties are farmers varieties bred over
centuries by farmers of Indian subcontinent. Crossing different varieties for getting mix traits, the
basmati characteristic from basmati and the semi dwarf characteristics is also not novel. It is a
very common method of breeding, " which every breeder is familiar with. Ricetech's 'basmati
867' cannot be same as traditional basmati and novel at the same time. The characteristics for
which Rice Tech has claimed a patent are derived from traditional basmati. If patents of Rice
Tech are recognized in India, the patent claim would definitely force the Indian farmers (who are
growing basmati) to pay royalty since the claim covers same type of varieties.

         Tracing the history of aromatic rice varieties in the Indian subcontinent with a focus on
history of basmati, ICRISAT has shown the proof that this distinct variety has been under
cultivation for about 300 years from now. According to Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, an eminent
Indian scientist and former Director General ICAR, basmati is not generic in trade sense as is
referred by chief executive officer of Ricetech Inc., but it was a case of geographic appellation.
This entire episode of basmati's patent, has brought to limelight yet again the glaring lacunae on
passing the Plant Variety Protection Act, Biodiversity Act, and the Agricultural Policy to Protect
Breeders Rights in India. This is an issue on which scientists across fields agree in totality.
Currently the Department of Industrial Research (DIR) is also working on the ways and means
to challenge the patent issued for basmati rice. As a strategy made by the government India will
try to negotiate bilaterally with US counterpart and then with World Trade Organizations to settle
their issues. Dr.Swaminathan feels, if relevant act in India is not finalized soon, our country will
be battling for ownership of tea, camphor, and saffron too.

        In this context it is widely realized that there is an urgent need to provide legal protection
for Indian farmers, mainly (i) to prevent the theft of their traditional breeding and collective
innovations which require an international act by WTO and US Patent Office, and (ii) to prevent
the recognition of such patents in India in order to prevent the Indian farmers to pay royalties for
the varieties derived from their own innovations. This can be initiated by central government.

2. Piperine piracy
        Same is the case of patent on kali mirch (black pepper). Bioperine is a pure piperine
extract obtained from black pepper fruits which are collected from the crop cultivated in the
damp, nutrient rich soil regions of Southern India. Sabinsa corporation a New Jersey based
company together with Ban- galore based company Sami Chemicals and Extracts has got
patent on bioperine. The Sabinsa has served legal notice to spice exporters of Kerala. The
patent on bioperine and the legal notice by Sabinsa had created a furor among the growers and
exporters of spices in India.

       The government is expected to file a review petition in the US patent and Trade office
against the claim of Sabinsa that it has exclusive marketing rights of all piperine extracts. If
Sabinsa managed to get a world wide patent on the piperine, India would looses its huge market
to Sabinsa. A committee has been constituted to chalk out an action plan to ward off such
threats against Indian spices and spice products in future. The committee has decided to collect
and document all the information regarding Indian spices and spice products to protect the
country's traditional knowledge.

VI. Conclusion

       There has been a country-wide debate involving policy makers, scientists, non-
governmental organizations and other stake holders on the kind of system which would suit our
needs and also provide adequate protection to researchers as well as farmers. There has been
a consensus on to legislate an act on right of farmers for using the material from their harvest in
the next season. It is widely realized that the benefits of the green revolution were not shared
equally and about 65 % of our arable land which is generally rainfed and inhabited mostly by
small and marginal farmers, is under traditions al cultivation. It is reckoned that until we evolve
technologies for these areas, our food problem will not be solved.

        One of the important factors for increasing the productivity has been timely supply of
inputs-foremost being of the seeds of improved varieties. Although the public sector seed
companies have been doing perhaps their best, it has not been possible for them to provide
good seed to large number of farmers. On the other hand, private seed companies are largely
keeping away from production and supply of seeds of cereals, pulses, oilseeds, and instead
concentrating on seeds of vegetables and fruits due to higher margin of profit. A vast majority of
farmers mostly small and marginal, are using part of their yield as seed in the next season.
Hence the rights of farmers to use, exchange, sale or disposal in any manner, the seed
produced at their farm or of the harvested have to be protected. Even in case where restrains
are proposed to be imposed on sale of seeds of the protected varieties by farmers/ there is a
strong case for accepting small and resource poor farmers from such restraints. It is understood
that many Euopean legislations on the subject exempt farmers whose holdings are below a
certain size from the Plant Variety Protection Legislation.

       As it is well known that in India the land holdings are so if, small that these can not be
compared with the smallest land holdings in Europe, there is a case that farmers are subject to
any restraint in the disposal of the seed or produce of a protected variety exempt when it is
done on a sizable commercial scale. Further, the view has been expressed that the legislation
should not in any manner hamper the momentum of indigenous research efforts for evolution of
new varieties as that could have serious implications for India's agriculture. The restrictions on
the use of protected varieties of bonafide research will have to be protected.


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