Advocacy to Protect Farmers’ Rights

Safeguarding farmers’ rights and ensuring their food, livelihood and nutrition security has been and continues to be one of the main causes that drives Gene campaign’s advocacy activities, ever since it came into being in 1993.


A new and extremely controversial element was brought into international trade discussions during the 1986-1994 meetings of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT later WTO) also referred to as the Uruguay round of negotiations. What emerged from these negotiations was a proposal made by Aurthur Dunkel, the director-general of GATT. The Dunkel Draft as it was called made several recommendations but its primary recommendation was related to,for the first time in world trade, the granting of Intellectual Property Rights on biological materials such as plants, seeds and life forms. This was embodied in a section called TRIPs (Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights).

Gene Campaign first brought to the nation’s focus that TRIPS would have a devastating effect on agriculture and livelihoods. The debate till then had focussed exclusively on the impact of patents on drugs and agrochemicals.

TRIPS proposed to overturn the tradition of each country deciding its IPR regime, in favour of western demands that IPR laws be harmonised across the globe, following western standards.

This had several serious implications for developing countries such as India whose economies are based on agriculture and where livelihoods of rural and tribal communities are dependent on their unfettered access to biological materials.

Implication of TRIPS on Indian farmers

Implication of TRIPS on Indian farmers

Implementing the intellectual property rights (IPR) regime on plant varieties and biological agro-chemicals would establish the control of multinationals on Indian agriculture. This would happen through increasing corporate control over seed production and distribution by denying the farmers the right to produce seed.

The Indian farming community is the largest producer of seed in the country. Of the 6 lakh tons of seed required for Indian agriculture annually, farmers produce 3.8 lakh tons and the rest is produced by a combination of government and seed companies. This production right would gradually move to seed companies who would hold seed patents and many of the companies since they also control the production of fertilisers and pesticides would ensure that the cost agriculture becomes high resulting in widespread shift to commercial agriculture at the cost of food crops.

These developments would severely threaten the small and marginal farmer, depriving him/her of a livelihood. It would also exacerbate poverty and seriously threaten India’s ability to achieve sustained food and nutritional security for its people.

Genetic Erosion
As seen in the West, agro-chemical companies would also hasten genetic erosion in the field by pushing a few successful varieties and further reducing the practice of mixed crop farming.

Compromising India’s competitiveness in Biotechnology
India is home to a rich genetic diversity in flora and fauna and this gives the country the potential to emerge as a major global player in the biotechnology sector, which is going to be the dominant technology of the world in the coming decades. This competitiveness will be wiped out if it accepted IPR systems that are not suited to its stage of biotechnology development or to the organisational structure of its institutions.

The competition posed by the enormous financial capacity of multinational companies in pharmaceuticals, agriculture and biotechnology would cause nascent Indian ventures to be stifled. And India would lose its most promising avenue for self-reliant growth and the opportunity to emerge as an economically powerful nation if it did not safeguard its biotech opportunities.

Foreign goods dumped in India markets with minimum scope for technology import
While the draft proposed the dismantling of excessive bureaucratic strangleholds to liberalise the economy, which was positive, what is also stood for was forcing open Indian markets to import western consumer lifestyle products, yet denying imports of essential technology for eg. to improve transport systems or for more efficient power generation, etc with which India could move ahead.

It was, therefore, essential that Indian policy makers and farmers understood all the implications of the GATT/WTO proposals and sought alternative policies that would safeguard Indian’s agriculture and its farming community.

Gene Campaign’s activities

1) Leading the National Campaign Against Seed Patents

Gene Campaign spearheaded the national campaign against seed patents. It pointed out that it was possible to pass national laws that would be compliant with international obligations in the WTO and still protect the interests of India’s bio-resources and the rights of local communities, and made the following recommendations:

  • If India had to accept IPR on biological/ genetic resources, it should not opt for the patent system of protecting plant varieties (PBR) instead opt for a sui generis system that provided Plant breeders’ Rights (PBR) because PBR was a less rigid form of protection than patents.

  • To formulate its own Sui Generis plant variety protection law, India needed to expand the existing codification of Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR), because it was created by the International Union for the Protection of Plant Varieties (UPOV), a confederation of largely western nations.

  • The UPOV codification only recognised the granting of Plant Breeders’ Rights, where as India had to expand its scope and legally recognise Farmers’ Rights as well, to retain the freedom of farmers to produce, sell and modify seeds and of the scientists to breed new varieties using the breeders’ varieties.

  • This would have to be accompanied by legal acknowledgement of Farmers’ Right on par with the Breeders Right. This would enable farmers to retain control over seed use and production as they had been doing for millions of years. Whereas in a patent regime developed on western standards, seed production was in the danger of getting concentrated in the hands of plant breeders (mainly seed companies) whose aggressive and capital intensive plant breeding research could result in monopolistic production and control of seeds.

  • If Breeders are to be rewarded, then farmers—including women and indigenous people of the tropical areas—must be compensated for their informal, innovative work. Because it was these people who created and refined varieties of almost all major food and cash crops and identified the genes that bestow desirable traits like high yield and disease resistance.

    Food for Thought

    The fact is that there would be no plant breeders in long white coats working on experimental farms if it were not for the prior knowledge gained from rural communities. Indigenous knowledge is the
    foundation of modern science in this and many other fields, and continues to
    be the reference and referral centre for modern plant breeding.

    Today, faced with the threat of global warming and climate changes across agricultural zones, scientists are on the lookout for crop varieties that are more heat tolerant. This information they acquire by going to deserts and hot regions and asking local farming communities about the varieties that grow in that region and that can withstand extreme heat. Armed with the benefit of indigenous knowledge, scientists return to their labs and their experimental farms and engage in a breeding and selection program that will result in the combination of traits that they seek to achieve in the new variety that is to be designed for post global warming agriculture.

    If credit had to be apportioned for the breeding of a new crop variety, then it could be shared perhaps as 80:20 or at least 70:30 between the farming and scientific communities. One could say quite easily that if the breeding of a crop variety entailed 100 steps, then indigenous knowledge contributed the first 80 or 70 steps and laboratory science contributed the next 20 or 30 steps. It stands to reason therefore that credit, reward and recognition for a new variety should be similarly shared. That is the reason why the claim to place Farmers Rights on par with Breeders Rights is such a natural claim. Farmers have a greater and more innovative share in the creation of new plant varieties than scientists. Their contribution must be recognised with at least the same degree of enthusiasm, if not more than that accorded to scientists.

  • Gene Campaign stressed on the need to change the focus of trade negotiations relating to biological resources from the GATT/WTO patent regime to the Convention on Biological Diveristy (CBD). CBD was signed in 1993. It is an UN-facilitated convention inspired by the world community’s growing commitment to sustainable development. Signed by more than 160 countries, including India. it represents a dramatic step forward in the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources

  • Genetic resources must be treated as a commercial resource, with a price tag in the same way as copper, coal or iron ore. If countries were earning from their copper, iron, and oil then developing countries, who had most of the world’s genetic materials, must also earn from their genes. For this to happen, as ratified by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) genetic, bio-resources will have to be accepted as the national property of the countries where they are found in, instead of being treated as the Common Heritage of Mankind to be used without payment.

  • Unlike the WTO the CBD accepts that nations have sovereign rights over their biodiversity and genetic resources and that local communities too have rights over this biodiversity because of their contribution to its conservation and their knowledge of its properties. But unfortunately, in a reversal of what should be priority in policy making, it was the ‘hostile ‘TRIPs, rather than the ‘ friendly’ CBD which had become the centre of action and legislation making in the developing countries.

Engaging with farmers, civil society & policy makers
Gene Campaign created a Core Group of supporters comprising professionals, academics, and civil society members to support its position on IPRs on seeds and genetic material.

With them began Gene Campaign’s first and till date most extensive and exhaustive campaigns – to bring the awareness and implications of what will happen to the seeds and livelihoods of small farmers if India accepts patenting of seeds.

Gene Campaign held the first demonstrations in India to protest against GATT/TRIPS and Seed and Life Form patents. This was supported by demonstrations and marches organised by Core Group members in various states. These actions were crucial in creating political awareness and focussing national attention on this issue, which had received no attention till then.

  • District and taluk level awareness meetings and demonstrations in key political constituencies led to the sensitisation of important Members of Parliament (MPs). This in turn resulted in the government at least tabling the GATT/TRIPS issue for discussion in Parliament. This was significant in view of the fact that the government was trying not to let this subject come up in Parliament before ratification of the GATT in April 1994.

  • Working with a cross section of people including farming and adivasi communities, academic institutions, government departments, political and activist groups Gene Campaign set up a support network of 30 core groups in 17 states. This was done after conducting over 500 district and village level meetings in UP, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam, Mizoram and Manipur after travelling hundreds of kilometres during the summer and monsoons.

These large-scale awareness generation meetings took place in villages, with support for venue, food and water coming from the villagers themselves. Simple literature in regional languages printed with money volunteered by supports explained the process of globalisation and the national and international developments that could threaten food and livelihood security.

Through circulation of white papers, interactions with departments such as the Commerce, Agriculture & Environment Ministries, and depositions before Parliamentary Standing Committees, Group of Ministers, and other expert committees Gene Campaign engaged with policy makers with its recommendations.

With the help of other civil society groups, Gene Campaign created a ‘Forum of Parliamentarians on Intellectual Property Rights.’ For them and other MPs and bureaucrats, reference and briefing papers and Parliament Questions are prepared by Gene Campaign IPR, agriculture and biotech related issues.

To get media attention journalists were briefed, press releases circulated and articles written both for the English and the regional language papers journals to generate awareness on the what the IPR regime would mean for India.

To demystifying the GATT/ TRIPS provision technical jargon was translated into reader-friendly language and made into booklets that were distributed free of cost.

Seminars and workshops were conducted to provide an interface between scientists and farmers and come up with consensus recommendations. One of the most important papers that emerged from these exercises was called DUNKEL DRAFT: MINIMUM MUST FOR RENEGOTIATION, which in 1992 listed alternative negotiating positions in GATT/ TRIPS defined in consultation with experts.

Relentless campaigns led to a decisive event in March 1993, which contributed to compelling the government to abandon its pro-patent stand. This event was a farmers’ rally organised by Gene Campaign together with three farmer organisations, the All India Bhartiya Kissan Union, the Bhartiya Kissan Union of Punjab and the Karnataka Rajya Ryatha Sangha.

The farmers’ rally had 300,000 farmers from UP, Karnataka and Punjab congregate behind the Red Fort on March 3, they were led by the imposing figure of Mahendra Singh Tikait and jointly with Gene Campaign they issued a single call: No Patents on Seeds.

The government realised the issue had reached the people and it would not be able to enforce the bitterly opposed patent option. Therefore, when India ratified the TRIPS documents in 1994 it made a commitment to protect plant varieties through its own sui generis legislation instead of patents.

2. Campaign to create India’s Sui Generis Legislation: The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Right Act (PPVFR) 2001

A very early focus of Gene Campaign’s advocacy effort was to arrive at what should go into a strong sui generis legislation for India since this the option the country had chosen for protecting plant varieties under GATT. It was important to get the sui generis system right since such a law on seeds, if it failed to protect the small farmer, could destroy the self-reliant moorings of Indian agriculture.

Drafting a sui generis legislation began in the Agriculture Ministry, unfortunately without any consultation with experts or any stakeholders. Gene Campaign lobbied against giving legitimacy to a sui generis law that had not considered any perspectives outside the government. Finally, the government in principle agreed to receive inputs from other stakeholders but was reluctant to begin the process of consultations.

Taking the initiative Gene Campaign, began a series of consultation with stakeholders such as farmers, NGOs, academic institutions, government departments, the seed industry, and experts from biotechnology, economics and law. The purpose was to arrive at consensus recommendations that could be presented to the government to help it develop a sui generis legislation that would satisfy the requirements of the TRIPS document and still protect national interest.

The Recommendations
Based on stakeholder consultations and the study of past national and international policies and conventions, and an analysis of the impact on farmers in countries that have Breeders’ Rights a set of recommendations were presented to the government. The underlying premise was that if Plant Breeders’ were to be granted rights on the seeds they produce, the legislation would also have to grant a strong Farmers’ Rights on seeds at the same time.

When the government resisted, it was pointed at various forums and through the publication of several briefing papers that there no clause in TRIPS or Article 27.3(b), that opposed granting Farmers’ Rights. And more importantly, even if there had been any restriction on the granting of Farmers’ Rights, it would be impossible for India, on behalf of its millions of small farmers, to accept such a restraint.

Farmers’ Rights (as distinct from Farmers’ Exemptions which guarantees the right t to only save seed, not sell it) are formalised in a bill passed by the FAO in 1987 and approved by all member nations of FAO in 1989, including India. This bill acknowledges that if Plant Breeders can claim reward and compensation for their labour and innovation by asking for patents or Plant Breeders’ rights on the plant varieties they produce, then farmers too have an equal right to claim reward and compensation for refining and maintaining genetic resources, something they have been doing for generations.

The recommendations were based on this recognition to ensure that the farming community retain the same control over seed production and seed use that they always had. This was against the widely articulated demand that Farmers’ Rights should constitute only the right to save seed from the harvest to sow the next crop (plant-back rights). These plant-back rights were actually exemptions and these too were slowly being rolled back by Breeders in many countries limiting the rights by degrees.

Studies on plant-back rights revealed that they were granted by the International Union for the Protection of Plant Varieties (UPOV), a confederation of largely western nations. In some UPOV member countries, France for example, very limited exemptions were granted to farmers where as Greece and some other countries were more generous. Even this right was much curtailed when UPOV, after its last amendment in 1991, made plant-back exemptions for farmers optional and subject to the consent of the Breeder.

In this context, considering the vulnerability of farmers, the recommendations insisted on the following provisions that would make for robust Farmers’ Right mandate:

  • The Indian sui generis law had to grant well-defined rights, not just provide beggarly exemptions to its farmers. These rights have to be recognised because of the past and present contributions made by the farming community to the conservation of agro-biodiversity and their role as dynamic breeders of new varieties which anchor the food security of the world.
  • As part of Farmers’ Rights, farmers were to receive payment for the use of crop varieties developed by them and their informed consent before their varieties were used in plant breeding.
  • Farmers would be compensated if poor quality seeds sold by breeders led to crop failure.
  • To make sure the farmer does not get displaced by seed companies as a seed producer, farmers would retain the right to sell seed (see below) to other farmers, even if the variety was registered under a Breeders Right. This right to sell seed was crucial to maintaining the livelihood basis of the farming community and the nation’s self reliance in agriculture.

Over two years of lobbying and discussions with the Agriculture Ministry finally persuaded them to set up an Expert Committee in the Planning Commission with would work with the Ministry of Agriculture to make a new sui generis draft. And after that It took the intervention of two Parliamentary Committees and a strong civil society action led by Gene Campaign lasting almost seven years, for India to pass a reasonable Farmers’ Rights law. It was called the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Right (PPVFR) Act 2001. It is a a watershed piece of legislation and the only kind in the world where both breeders and farmers rights have received integrated attention.

Commending the PPVFR legislation Carlos Correae, member of the International Commission on Intellectual Property Rights (London) said “This legislation certainly shows how developing countries can design sui generis legislation that takes into account their own needs in this critical area.”

Today, India is the only country in the world, which grants clear and explicit rights to its farmers. Other Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and China do not grant any rights to farmers, only a few exemptions. Sri Lanka do not even grant exemptions. The Indian legislation is path breaking and Gene Campaign has over the years ensured that its highlights are shared at critical international forums.

Since January 2002, Gene Campaign together with Consumers International-Asia-Pacific and Action Aid –Asia, have been running an aggressive joint campaign for the protection of Farmers’ Right in the national legislation of various Asian countries.

In 2003 Gene Campaign, the South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE) and Consumers International Asia-Pacific jointly organised a meeting on protecting Farmers’ Rights in the context of the WTO/ TRIPs, during the Fifth Ministerial meeting at Cancun, Mexico.
The panel discussion titled “The TRIPS Review: A Roadmap for Protecting Farmers’ Rights” was held where Gene Campaign familiarised participants with the provisions of the Indian legislation and shared with them the advocacy strategies it used to finally get the Farmers’ Rights in the law, in a reasonable form.

The purpose of this meeting at Cancun was to pressurise individual governments and the WTO itself, to stop pushing for patents on seeds and allow developing countries to formulate their domestic laws in their own way, to protect the rights of their farm men and women over their seed and their agricultural practices.

3. Proposing CoFaB for as an Alternative to UPOV to safeguard Farmer’s Rights in International Trade

After the enactment of the PPVFR, the next in the advocacy agenda was to guide the decision about which would be the international platform from where India would interact with other nations in relation to plant variety protection.

The only international platform set up for this is the UPOV. It was set up by European countries and are controlled by Life Science Corporations. UPOV recognizes only Plant Breeders’ rights. And very few developing countries and no Asian country is a member of it.

Gene Campaign’s position was and continues to be that India should not become an UPOV member.

UPOV- International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants

Set-up in 1961, the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) is an inter-governmental organization with headquarters in Geneva. The Convention has been seeing several revisions to its mandate the most recent being the one in 1991 when to strengthen the protection offered to the breeder it prevented farmers from saving seed unless individual governments with the consent of the breeder allow limited exceptions. It also allowed patenting of plant varieties the same year ensuring dual protection to the breeder and none to farmers.

Why Gene Campaing opposes Indian membership in the UPOV

  • Almost all agricultural research and plant breeding in India is financed with the taxpayer’s money. It is conducted in public institutions such as agricultural universities and institutions of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). This research belongs to the public. The laws of UPOV on the other hand are formulated by societies where seed research is conducted more in the private domain than in public institutions; where big money is put into breeding using recombinant DNA technology which is expensive. Because they invest in expensive breeding methods and need to secure returns on their investments, seed companies in Europe seek market control through strong IPRS. These conditions do not apply in India.

  • The UPOV system is not suited for developing countries because it embodies the philosophy of the industrialized nations where it was developed and where the primary goal is to protect the interests of powerful seed companies who are the breeders.

  • UPOV laws are formulated by developed, industrialised countries not agricultural economies. In the industrialised nations:

    • Agriculture is a purely commercial activity. For the majority of Indian farmers however, it is a livelihood. Indian farmers are the very people who have nurtured and conserved genetic resources. The same genetic resources that breeders want to corner under Breeders Rights.

    • The farming community is by and large rich and constitutes from 1 to 5% of the population, and unlike India do not have large numbers of small and marginal farmers.

    • Subsidy to agriculture is of a very high order unlike India. Because they produce a massive food surplus, farmers in industrialised countries get paid for leaving their fields fallow.

  • The UPOV system does not have to protect the farming community of Europe in the way that Indian seed laws will have to protect the farming community.

  • India does not have big seed companies in essential seed sectors and its major seed producers are farmers and farmers’ cooperatives. Logically, Indian law has to concentrate on protecting the interests of the farmer in his role as producer as well as consumer of seed.

  • Once India’s joins UPOV, it shall be forced to go in the direction that UPOV goes. UPOV supports patents and also permits dual protection of varieties – the same variety can be protected by Plant Breeders Right (PBR) and patents.

  • UPOV will not allow India’s landmark PPVFR legislation, which recognises and grants legal rights to farmers, because there is no concept or recognition of the Farmers’ Rights in the UPOV system where rights are granted only to the breeder, which in today’s context are the seed companies.

  • The UPOV system is expensive. The costs of testing, approval and acquiring an UPOV authorised Breeders Right certificate could be cost thousands or lakhs of rupees. Such rates will effectively preclude the participation of all but the largest seed companies. There certainly will be no space in such a system for small companies, farmers’ co-operatives or farmer/breeders.

  • Farmers play a significant role as breeders of new plant varieties. They often release very successful varieties by crossing and selection from their fields. These varieties are released for use as such. In addition, in almost all cases, these varieties are taken up by agriculture universities as breeding material for producing other varieties. Such farmer/breeders would not be able to participate in an expensive system like UPOV.

  • Germplasm developed by farmers – though their labour and innovation would be most likely misappropriated by those with the money to translate such valuable germplasm into money-spinning varieties registered in UPOV. Poor farmers unable to pay the costs of getting an UPOV certificate, would tend to sell their varieties for small sums to larger seed companies. This will take away from the farmer his material and his opportunities continue agriculture.

An alternative to UPOV – CoFaB
Gene Campaign along with Centre for Environment and Agriculture Development(CEAD) developed Convention of Farmers and Breeders( CoFaB) as an alternative to UPOV to provide a forum for developing countries to implement their Farmers and Breeders Rights.

CoFaB suggests an agenda appropriate for developing countries by reflecting their strengths and their vulnerabilities, and it seeks to secure their interests in agriculture and fulfil the food and nutritional security goals of their people.

Unlike the provisions of the UPOV, the CoFaB treaty seeks to fulfil the following goals :

  • Provide reliable, good quality seeds to the small and large farmer.

  • Maintain genetic diversity in the field.

  • Provide for breeders of new varieties to have protection for their varieties in the market, without prejudice to public interest.

  • Acknowledge the enormous contribution of farmers to the identification, maintenance and refinement of germplasm.

  • Acknowledge the role of farmers as creators of land races and traditional varieties which form the foundation of agriculture and modern plant breeding.

  • Emphasise that the countries of the tropics are germplasm owning countries and the primary source of agricultural varieties.

  • Develop a system wherein farmers and breeders have recognition and rights accruing from their respective contribution to the creation of new varieties.

The CoFab document was reviewed by the UNDP Human Development Report (HDR) 1999, and it commended the document describing it as a “strong and coordinated international proposal” which “offers developing countries an alternative to following European legislation by focusing legislation on needs to protect farmers’ rights to save and reuse seed and to fulfil the food and nutritional security goals of their people.”

4. Legal Action against Indian Government against Joining UPOV (2003)

There was a general consensus that India had broken new ground and deviated from the UPOV model of sui generis legislation by enacting a legislation that incorporated features of the CBD, and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR) under which India recognised and accepted Farmers Rights.

Reacting to India’s decision, the International Federation of Seed Industries said it would not agree to the Farmers Rights provisions if India wants to join UPOV. The attorneys of large seed corporations pointed out that the Indian Farmers’ Rights will not be accepted by UPOV members and will have to be changed substantially if India wanted to become a member. UPOV itself has made it clear that India’s Farmers Rights would not be acceptable.

What followed was a surprising turnaround by the government. Without any discussions in Parliament, the Cabinet decided to reject the developments of the last few years including its own Act ‘the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act of 2001’ and decided to join UPOV in 2002.

This decision to join UPOV stunned national and international experts leading many to asking what elements in the government and for what reason could have advocated this complete about turn in India’s position. Questions were raised about how the Cabinet without seeking the approval of Parliament could take a step that would be a grave setback for Farmers’ Rights. Rights that were guaranteed by the PPVFR 2001 enacted just a year ago.

Gene Campaign made several attempts to discuss the dangers of UPOV with officials of the Agriculture Ministry and appealed to them not to take this retrograde step, but finding no response it took legal recourse to challenge the government’s decision to join UPOV.

It filed a Writ Petition in the form of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Delhi High Court on 1st October 2002, to block the government’s decision to join UPOV. Gene Campaign also requested the Court to declare the decision (of joining UPOV) of the Government dated 31.05.02 as illegal and unconstitutional being violative of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001 as well as Articles 14, 21, 38, 47 and 48-A of the Constitution of India. It further requested the Court to direct the Government not to take any action which is not in the interest of protection of farmers’ rights in the Act and that those rights are neither impaired nor diluted by any future act of the Government.

The Court accepted the PIL and asked the Indian Government to file a reply to the Petition.

After failing to respond for six months, the Indian government finally replied to Gene Campaign’s PIL on 2 April, 2003. Revealing its anti- farmer stand, the GOI demonstrated in its reply that its intention was to defend Breeders Rights, not Farmers’ Rights. And that its allegiance was with corporate breeders such as Monsanto and Syngenta whose interests it sought to protect by deciding to join UPOV. An extensive case was made by the lawyers of the government of India on why breeders rights had to be protected without once accepting or considering the need to protect Farmers’ rights too.

In response, Gene Campaign argued this matter in the High Court and requested the Court to direct the GOI to provide an undertaking that no steps that it takes will in any way dilute the rights granted to farmers in the Indian laws.

There has since then been a stay on the move to join UPOV, which can be seen as a victory to upholding the farmers’ rights as provided in the PPVFR of 2001.