India not obliged to be compliant with UPOV: Experts to Minister

-The Hindu Business Line

New Delhi: A section of agricultural scientists, activists and farmer leaders has alleged that there is an undesirable attempt to align India’s Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPR&FRA) 2001 with the International Union for the Protection of Plant Varieties (UPOV), even though the country has no legal obligation to do so.

In a letter written to Union Agriculture Minister Radhamohan Singh and PPR&FR Authority Chairperson KV Prabhu, they strongly opposed the move and said: “We note with deep concern the idea to align PPV&FR Act, 2001, with the international law on the subject, implying compliance with UPOV. We emphasise that India is not a member of UPOV and is under no legal obligation to be compliant with UPOV.”

The amendment was to increase the period of protection available to registered varieties to 20 years for trees and 25 years for vines from the existing 15 and 18 years, respectively.

“(The PPR&FRA) members were informed that the period of protection has to be made on a par with the period of protection under UPOV in alignment with international law on the subject,” said the letter quoting the minutes of the meeting of the authority members on November 13, 2017.

The existing protection period itself is long and any further extension to 20 and 25 respectively, will interfere with the farmers’ freedoms and researchers’ privileges that are guaranteed in the law.

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The Hindu Business Line, 9 May, 2019, https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/economy/agri-business/india-not-obliged-to-be-compliant-with-upov-experts-to-minister/article27083729.ece

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