RCEP: Indian peasant movements and allies warn against obligations on patenting seeds, plant varieties

Farmers groups and agricultural researchers in India have sent a letter today to the Prime Minister, with a copy to the relevant trade negotiators of India, urging the government not to accept any damaging intellectual property rights (IPR) provisions in the RCEP that will impact farmers’ seed freedoms and their access to planting materials.

In particular the letter states:

“We urge that UPOV 1991 in its entirety, or elements of UPOV 1991 or UPOV 1991-like commitments, and ‘UPOV 1991-plus’ commitments must all be rejected.

We stress that recognising any aspect of UPOV system would be inconsistent with and undermine farmer seed systems in India and the international rights and obligations of India under the various international instruments. Most importantly nothing must affect the right of Indian farmers to freely save, use, exchange and sell farm saved seeds/propagating material.”