There is great need to work for the farmerers in India the regular suicidal attaemt and death taken place accorss the cpiuntry makes us detrmined to work for the roghts of farmers in India. India is among the first countries in the world to have passed legislation granting Farmers’ Rights in the form of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001. India’s experience is important due to its international contribution to negotiations on Farmers’ Rights, its position as a centre of biodiversity, and the complexities of agriculture in India within which the country is attempting to implement these rights. India’s law is unique not only because of its far-reaching rights for farmers, but also in that it simultaneously aims to protect both breeders and farmers. This attempt to evolve a multiple rights system could, however, pose several obstacles to the utilization and exchange of plant genetic resources among farmers. India has framed a unique legislation, but still faces the task of implementation. This should serve as a signal internationally that establishing legislation is insufficient to effectively promote Farmers’ Rights. Failing to implement Farmers’ Rights in India would be a heavy loss for all the farmers who need Farmers’ Rights to protect their livelihoods, secure their access to resources, protect their rights to seeds, and, above all, lift them out of poverty.
Nine rights are given to farmers under the PPVFR Act:
- Right to seed: PPVFR Act aims to give farmers the right to save, use, exchange or sell seed. But, farmer cannot sell the seeds in a packed form labeled with registered name.
- Right to index own varieties: Just like commercial breeders even the farmer can get Intellectual property right over their own varieties. This right is unique to Indian PPVFR 2001 act.
- Right to reward and recognition: The Act provides for establishment of National Gene Fund through which the work of farmers is recognized and rewarded.
- Right to benefit sharing: National Gene Fund authority also facilitates benefit sharing. The Authority is required to publish the registered varieties and invite claims for benefit sharing. The rewards from the gene fund can only be given to a farmer/community who can prove that they have contributed to the selection and preservation of materials used in the registered variety.
- Right to information and compensation for crop failure: The breeder must give information about expected performance of the registered variety. If the material flops to perform, the farmers may claim for compensation under the Act.
- Right to compensation for private use of traditional varieties: Sometimes the breeder may not wish to disclose the use of traditional variety. If the breeder has not disclosed the source of traditional varieties, even then compensation can be granted through the Gene Fund.
- Right to sufficient accessibility of registered varieties: The breeder is required to provide sufficient supply of seeds to the public at a reasonable price. If after three years of registration, the breeder could not provide sufficient supply of seeds to the public at a reasonable price, any other person can apply for license.
- Right to service free of charge: The PPVFR 2001 Act excludes farmers from paying any service charges. In other words, the services like registration of varieties, conducting tests on the registered varieties, renewal of registration are done free of charge. Moreover, there is no fee for legal proceedings under this Act.
- Protection from legal encroachment in case of lack of awareness: Considering low literacy levels in the country, PPVFR 2001 Act provides and safeguards against innocent encroachment by farmers. Farmers who unintentionally violate the rights of a breeder shall not be penalized if he/she can show that they did not know about the existence of breeder’s rights.
‘Farmers Rights’ should be dealt as intellectual property rights rather than reward mechanism because the working of the reward mechanism may be ad hoc and may not be transparent. Many farmers in India feel that they must have some kind of ownership over their varieties because companies take the original material from farmers and sell them at a higher rate.
Sometimes even the middlemen raise the price of fruits/vegetables and sell it at higher prices to consumers, whereas farmers receive only a meager amount of that price. Farmers should have ownership rights but it is not easy to produce new varieties. And if money and opportunity are provided, farmers can also invent and innovate.
The Indian law on Farmers’ Rights is considered successful at least partially by many stakeholders. Probably, it is for the first time when the rights of farmers received such wide attention and debate both within and outside Parliament. Even more government was forced to initiate as it could not manage to pass the legislation without these demands being met.