Saturday, February 5, 2011

Farmer’s varieties are waiting to file under PPV &FR Act, 2001

This blog post is my personal analysis view about an article published (here). Our readers must be aware that Orissa is known as “treasure house of paddy”. According to a survey conducted by the Orissa government in 1970s found around 1,700 varieties of paddy in Jeypore area of Koraput district, Orissa. Agriculture officials of Orissa believe that around 1,000 varieties have already vanished since the last survey was done in the Seventies. Of the remaining, some could be duplicates and finally conservative estimate record is about 300 varieties.

The Orissa government is planning to facilitate the interest of farmers by applying for registration of almost 300 traditional varieties of paddy under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Right Act, 2001 to Plant Varieties Registry

Director of Agriculture, R S Gopalan, said, "We plan to launch a campaign from mid-February to collect sample seeds of traditional varieties, identify and confirm them through morphological characteristics." Mr. Gopalan has requested to farmers, act as facilitators and inform officers about traditional varieties in the area and If possible, provide seed samples of five kg.

I would like to inform the readers that Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology is recipient of seven paddy Varieties by PPV&FR Authority. Subsequently, OUAT has issued notices with regards to breeder rights (here) and (here). Add to the information, Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) is also located in Cuttack, Orissa. One of the objectives of CRRI is to conduct basic, applied and adaptive research on crop improvement and resource management for increasing and stabilizing rice productivity in different rice ecosystems. The M S Swaminathan Research Foundation also has a branch in Jeypore, and some central and state government organization may extend their support in this regard.

Agriculture minister, Damodar Rout said that "Many of the traditional paddy varieties have unique characteristics not possessed by popular high-yielding varieties”.


Does all the above varieties can qualify as farmer’s varieties?

According to Section 2 (l) of PPV&FR Act, defines “farmers’ variety” as a variety which (i) has been traditionally cultivated and evolved by the farmers in their fields; or

(ii) is a wild relative or land race or a variety about which the farmers possess the common knowledge;

As, the above article stated that all the above varieties are traditionally cultivated since 1970, if it is documentary supported then said varieties fits well in the frame of farmer’s variety.

What is the time limit of filing?

According to the gazette notification, issued by Central Government, Ministry of Agriculture on 1st Nov, 2006 (here) which notifies the 12 crops genera and species eligible for registration (Paddy is one of them). According to rule 24 of PPV&FR Rules-2003, the farmer variety comes under the Extant variety category. Hence, the application for registration shall be file within three year from the date of said gazette notification.

What will happen? If the time limit for filing the application (three years from the date of notification) has been elapsed according to above mentioned gazette? As the year 2011 is running.

Central Government has amended (here) the rule 24, especially in context of farmer variety in Oct 2009, before expiration of said period. The amendment extends the time up to five year from the date of notification or may be more than that. Hence farmers are entitling for file the application.

What will be the protection period for the farmer’s varieties, if registered?

According to the section 24(6), the total period of validity shall not exceed fifteen years from the date of registration. Hence farmer’s variety can get protection period fifteen years from the date of registration.

I hope that most of the farmer’s varieties will be applying for registration to PPV&FR Registry, and get registration certificates at the earliest. It will assist in the farmers social- economic condition.

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