UPOV turns a deaf ear to the concerns of smallholder farmers


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. Despite the far-reaching nature of the debate, it has received little attention from the wider public.

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. This article also aims to inform stakeholders outside UPOV about the process and help them better understand how UPOV functions.