What are the ways to protect plant varieties?
One of the easiest ways to protect plant varieties is to utilize the provision of Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001. As the name clearly suggests, the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Act, 2001 provides protection to various varieties of plants for the farmers. The act provides rights to farmers and plant breeders that help them to foster the development of new plant varieties. The act protects rights of the plant breeders for stimulating investment in research and development of new plant varieties. The farmer provides a huge contribution towards the economic development of a country. Therefore, this act was introduced by a country like India, which is highly dependent on the development of agriculture to accelerate development of the country.
The development of new plant varieties makes room for integration of broader economic improvement and health improvement. The new plant varieties lead to the investment and production of better quality health supplements such as Triphala and other churna in Ayurveda, herbal tea such as green tea and Vata tea.
The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001 was enacted to comply with the TRIPS agreement because it was necessary for all its members to do so. The Act was enacted in the year 2001 and the rules were released in the year 2003. The Act was enacted to provide rights to the farmers and encourage the development of new plant varieties. Also, the Act provides adequate protection to different plant varieties. It also boosts investment, research and development in agriculture to facilitate the growth of new plant varieties. As a result, this helped the seed industry in providing the much-needed support that, in turn provided high-quality seeds to the farmers. In some countries, these rights are provided through Plant Breeder’s Rights.
The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001was a blessing in disguise for India, which favors agricultural growth. The Act was designed in such a way that it could reach in an understandable way to a maximum number of farmers or plant breeders who are located in remote locations of the country. The Act recognizes the farmer, cultivator, breeder and conserver.
Further, the Act specifies the provisions on the right to specify that farmers are entitled to save, use, sow, re-sow, exchange, share and sell farm produce, including seeds of varieties protected by the Plant Breeders’ Rights. However, the farmers are not allowed to sell seeds of protected varieties as branded packages.
This Act also seeks to protect farmers from exaggerated claims by the seed companies regarding the performance of their registered varieties. The breeder discloses the performance of the variety under certain conditions. In case of any material failing to perform according to the given information, the farmers have a right to claim compensation from the breeding company through the governing authority set up for administering the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001.