October 2005

Disclosure of Origin and Access and Benefit Sharing: The special case of seeds for food and agriculture - Occasional Paper 17

Access to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and the conservation of such resources is vital, as it has far-reaching implications for food security. Patents can hinder access to plant resources for breeding purposes. He discusses the position of several key actors relating to disclosure of origin, says that disclosure of source is not a problem for the seed industry (ISF), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), and the Biotechnology Industry Association (BIO).

The author of this Occasional Paper argues that developing countries should not require patents on plant resources as they go against their interest and the interests of their citizens. He discusses the merits of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) system for plant genetic resources and finds that the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) should be the sui generis system of choice to achieve the objectives of ABS. In the view of the author, plant varieties out of plant variety protection (PVP) should be deposited in a seed bank (independent from UPOV), as this would be more useful than getting an agreement on disclosure of origin.


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