While the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act 2001 is a progressive piece of legislation that recognises farmers' rights to seed, it demands payment of an annual maintenance fee by the farmers to protect the varieties which they have been cultivating and conserving for years, only because these varieties have been brought under legal protection through national legislation.

India is the first country to provide substantial rights to farmers and registration of their varieties for IPR under the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act. Obviously, in the initial years the filing of applications was slow and inconsistent, and it was restricted to few crop species.

Understanding the effects of actions undertaken by human societies on crop evolution processes is a major challenge for the conservation of genetic resources. This study investigated the mechanisms whereby social boundaries associated with patterns of ethnolinguistic diversity have influenced the on-farm distribution of sorghum diversity. Social boundaries limit the diffusion of planting material, practices and knowledge, thus shaping crop diversity in situ.

A decade ago, Chandra Pradhani, a Paraja tribal of Nuaguda village in Kundra block of Odisha's Koraput district, would migrate to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh to earn a living as a brick kiln worker. He no longer does this. Today, he is feted by the nation. He was one of the tribal farmers honoured by prime minister Manmohan Singh at the 99th Science Congress held in Bhubaneswar in January. It is the hard labour and traditional agricultural techniques of tribal families that have helped put Koraput on the map of world agriculture.

When we reflect back in the past, we recollect Pandit Nehru's declaration soon after Independence in 1947, 'Everything else can wait but not Agriculture'. In 1948, Mahatma Gandhi orchestrated 'God is bread to the hungry'. This perspective of our national leadership led to the development of research institutions and the systems for technology-led agricultural growth in our country, which started with experiments in wheat and rice, and then ushered in vegetables, fruits, milk, fish, poultry, mushroom, honey, cotton, castor, soybean, maize etc., where we made good progress.

The Asian green revolution trebled grain yields through agrochemical intensification of monocultures. Associated environmental costs have subsequently emerged. A rapidly changing world necessitates sustainability principles be developed to reinvent these technologies and test them at scale. The need is particularly urgent in Africa, where ecosystems are degrading and crop yields have stagnated.

The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers

Local knowledge of crop diversity linked to food traditions, local practices and social norms is documented acquired through interaction with farmers and focus group discussion. Cooking quality of different rice varieties was assessed to see the effects of the environment factors. Different food dishes were assessed by trained cook, urban and rural consumers to identify dishes for market promotion. Diversified food traditions show close links to richness of crop landrace diversity. Crop landraces have substance, symbolic and sign values.

The study compares gross revenues from modern rice varieties and landraces and valuates different useful traits of rice landraces to demonstrate an empirical methodology for biodiversity valuation. A sample of 200 rice growers in hills and plain area was surveyed for commercialization of agro-biodiversity project. For estimating the value put by the consumers on different rice traits a hedonic pricing model was used that disaggregates the prices paid by the consumers for different useful traits of rice.

This report prepared by the International Panel
for Sustainable Resource Management assesses best available science on
the environmental and resource impacts of production and consumption.
The assessment report identifies priorities amongst global consumption
activities, industrial sectors and materials from primary industries in
terms of their environmental impacts and