ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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IPRs for Farmers

Role of Agricultural Intermediaries

A number of state agencies and non-governmental organisations have come forward to facilitate farmers/breeders to register their crop varieties and obtain plant variety certifi cates. But can these agencies bring forth a change in the mindset of the small farmers and seed savers' groups who view the current intellectual property regime with scepticism and continue to keep away from it?

Intermediaries are known to be persons or organisations that act as a link between the supplier and the end user. They are a third party in the exchange. The intermediaries ordinarily associated with India’s agriculture are those that bring farmers’ produce to the marketplace. These typically include commission agents, millers, wholesalers and retailers at different stages of the supply chain.

Another parallel supply chain has been established in Indian agriculture through an intellectual property (IP) law—a knowledge supply chain. This is under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001. The act grants IP protection in the form of plant variety certificates (PVC) to farmers/breeders. To be able to grant this IP protection, it first needs to bring the seed know-how onto its record books, in this case the official register of varieties maintained at New Delhi. It also requires the farmer to deposit in the National Gene Bank a sample of the seed or parental line seeds. This entire process supplies farmers’ seed knowledge and physical planting material from India’s farms previously not always accessible to the official system. To enable the process, a different set of intermediaries has come into play.

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