Providing intellectual property protection to farmers’ varieties in India under the Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001

India is the first country to provide substantial rights to farmers and registration of their varieties for IPR under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act. Obviously, in the initial years the filing of applications was slow and inconsistent, and it was restricted to few crop species. With extensive awareness programs organized by the PPV&FR Authority (henceforth addressed as Authority) involving the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), dramatic progress could be achieved in both number of applications filed and also the number of crop species covered. Since India is one of the centres of origin for many crop species of economic importance, it is relevant to accord legal protection to the plant genetic resources (PGR) subsisting in the farmers varieties to safeguard their conservation, use in breeding new varieties and appropriate benefit sharing.

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