A possible new interpretation of the private and non-commercial use exception has been under discussion at UPOV for many years. The way this exception is interpreted has a major impact on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers around the world - on their access to seed and on their ability to multiply, exchange, or sell seed. This report shows what is at stake, where the idea to adapt the interpretation came from, and how the discussion is developing within UPOV. The preliminary result indicates that UPOV seems to be unwilling or unable to balance its own system - to better meet the needs of smallholder farmers and reduce the negative impact on the farmer-managed seed system.

by APBREBES and Third World Network

The report introduces Malaysia’s unique and functional system protecting intellectual property on plant varieties and recognizing farmers’ innovations. Based on surveys and interviews, the author analyses the situation on the ground and the potential implications of the application of the UPOV 1991 convention. He concludes that “UPOV 1991 is not suitable for Malaysia. It will take away the flexibility every country needs to adapt the PVP system to its national needs and circumstances."

by South Centre & APBREBES

The study "The UPOV accession process: Preventing appropriate PVP laws for new members", published today by the South Centre and APBREBES, analyses the accession process for countries that want to become members of UPOV and provides both surprising and worrying results.

The APBREBES opinion paper by Jack Kloppenburg, Professor Emeritus, Department of Community and Environmental Sociology, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and  Secretary of the  Open Source Seed Initiative, shows the linkages between the concentration of the seed industry, intellectual property rights, and restricted access to plant genetic material for further breeding. Even if the situation in the United States cannot be compared with that in other countries, the findings and demands in the article are certainly of interest worldwide.

by APBREBES & Geneva Academy

This Briefing Paper explains how the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (UNDROP) complements the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), in particular its Article 9 on Farmers’ Rights, and how their joint implementation is essential for the realization of farmers’ and peasants’ rights.

by APBREBES, Indonesia for Global Justice, Both ENDS, Thirld World Network

The briefing paper highlights the main arguments why Indonesia should not join UPOV - and why it should not be pressured to do so by its northern trading partners.


This research paper aims to identify the extent of the offensive efforts carried out by the European Union in the trade policy pursued by European Commission officials around the globe, advo­cating the adoption of formalised and strong plant variety protection in trade partners’ national laws.
Because of the negative effects on farmer managed seed systems, APBREBES and Both Ends are demanding the EU to stop requiring developing countries to adopt the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention through trade agreements or any other activ­ities.


The new APBREBES study “Searching for flexibility - Why parties to the 1978 Act of the UPOV Convention have not acceded to the 1991 Act” explores the debates around plant variety protection (PVP) in nine countries that are parties to UPOV 78.
The study reveals the quest of countries for flexibility in their regulation of PVP – flexibility severely restricted under UPOV 1991. The Author demonstrates that by far the most contentious aspect of UPOV 1991 has been its implications for farmers’ rights and peasant seed systems. Countries that have not acceded to the 1991 Act were trying to avoid exacerbating existing conflicts with other domestic and international legal norms, the study found. This highlights the importance of retaining the flexibility to adapt PVP laws to national needs and circumstances and therefore to refrain from acceding to UPOV 91.