Union Agriculture Minister attends the Eighth Session of Governing Body of Seed Treaty at FAO Headquarters in Rome

New Delhi: Union Agriculture Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar reminded the gathering that the conservation of plant genetic resources is the shared responsibility of humanity while addressing the Opening Ceremony of eight session of the Governing Body of International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), at Rome, Italy. Shri Tomar added that he represents one among those countries where farming is the backbone of the socio-economy; where crop biodiversity is part and parcel of life and whose indigenous people, peasants have shaped the crop genetic resources that form the basis for breeding elsewhere in the world.

The Governing Body sessions are biennial and this year it is being held from 11th to 16th November with participation of delegates from 146 countries, international organizations, civil societies, farmers’ organizations, FAO officials and UN organizations. The Opening Ceremony was also attended by Ms Teresa Bellanova, Agriculture Minister, Italy and Dr. Qu Dongyu, Director General, FAO. Ms Christine Dawson from United States of America is the current Chair of the Treaty.

Shri Tomar, while informing the delegates about the uniqueness of Indian legislation “Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act” to protect Farmers’ Rights and breeder’s rights, said that in Indian legislation a farmer is entitled to save, use, sow, resow, exchange, share or sell his farm produce including seed of a variety protected under the PPV&FR Act, 2001 except brand name, and our legislation is fully compliant to article 9 of the Treaty. Under the provisions of this Act, 138 farmers/farming communities have been awarded with Plant Genome Saviour Awards. India has received about 16,620 applications for Plant Variety Protection out of which 10,920 (66%) have been received from farmers alone. Also, the PPV&FR Authority has registered about 3631 plant varieties out of which 1597 (44%) belong to the farmers.

ITPGRFA also known as Seed Treaty, is a comprehensive international agreement for ensuring food security through the conservation, exchange and sustainable use of the world’s plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA), as well as the fair and equitable benefit sharing arising from its use. It also recognizes farmers’ rights, subject to national laws.