Focus on Plant Variety Protection: A Compilation of Selected Literature on the Impact of the UPOV Convention, Alternative sui generis PVP Laws and the Effect on Farmers’ Rights

The new APBREBES publication compiles selected literature on the issue of plant variety protection (PVP) and especially on the relevance and impact of the 1991 Convention of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) in the context of developing countries. The publication aims to inform policymakers and other stakeholders with robust studies and evidence-based facts, so that policy is not made in a void or absence of knowledge. In this regard, APBREBES hopes that the publication will be beneficial for those working on PVP laws and the related policy questions that may arise. The publication can be downloaded from our Website in English, French, and Spanish.

The first key aspect the compilation focuses on is the impacts of the UPOV Convention and PVP laws derived therefrom. This has become increasingly important as developing countries are pressured to join the latest version of the Convention, UPOV 1991, and there are concerns about the suitability of such a regime for the agricultural and development contexts of developing countries.
Secondly, various nation states have opted for sui generis PVP laws, oftentimes taking some elements of UPOV provisions that protect plant breeders’ rights and combining these with other provisions that attempt to, inter alia, balance or reconcile with Farmers’ Rights, conserve plant genetic resources for food and agriculture and implement fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of such genetic resources. The publication therefore highlights some of the available analyses of the content, effectiveness and implementation of these sui generis regimes, and includes also some analysis of laws that are seen to be in line with UPOV 1991.
Thirdly, an important concern regarding UPOV and UPOV-based PVP laws is that they restrict the right of farmers to freely save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed and propagating material, which is the mainstay of agricultural systems in many developing countries. The compilation therefore also includes literature that examines Farmers’ Rights, particularly the right to save, use exchange and sell farm-saved seed and propagating material.
The final aspect of the compilation is on the issue of development of PVP laws; this includes literature on what a sui generis PVP regime that attempts to balance Farmers’ Rights and breeders’ rights could look like, what factors may influence policy and legal developments, and what options are available for countries given their international obligations. To the extent possible, the compilation covers peer-reviewed published papers, but also includes other important publications on these issues, including from civil society organizations.
A summary is provided of each publication