The new policy brief published by APBREBES speaks about the contradictions between the right that farmers have to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed/propagating material and the Breeders Rights in line with the 1991 Convention of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 91). Those contradictions are a major concern in the negotiations for the realization of Farmers' Rights under the ITPGRFA.

It is often argued by the proponents of the UPOV system, that membership of UPOV is a prerequisite to promote breeding activities and support development of a national seed market. But the recently published Access to Seed Index data seems to confirm that there is no causal relationship between the UPOV system and a dynamic seed sector. On the contrary, countries with a non-UPOV sui generis plant variety protection (PVP) legislation or even without a PVP legislation have in some regions the most vibrant seed sector.

by Mohamed Coulibaly, Robert Ali Brac de la Perrière, with contributions from Sangeeta Shashikant

In 1999, under the influence of Geneva-based institutions, developed countries and their seed industry, OAPI introduced Annex X on plant variety protection – modelled on UPOV 1991 – into the regional Bangui Agreement. The adoption of Annex X followed promises of agricultural transformation through emergence of a competitive commercial seed sector, foreign investment in breeding, the availability of new foreign plant varieties, significant royalty incomes for national research institutes and overall greater benefit for all levels of society.

More than 10 years after Annex X entered into force on 1 January 2006, the Working Paper studies how Annex X has been operationalized, the impact and relevance of UPOV 1991 for the region and, in particular, whether the promises of UPOV 1991 were ever realized for the 17 countries in the OAPI region.

by Francois Meienberg

UPOV’s bodies met in Geneva from 28th October to 2nd November.

The main topics of this report are the discussions on the Explanatory Note on Essentially Derived Varieties, the meeting of ISC Working Group, the Interrelations with the International Treaty and the examination of the conformity of the PVP Act of Afghanistan.