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International Treaty

on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture facilitates the sharing of seeds for the world’s food crops (such as rice or maize). It is primarily an agricultural and environmental treaty, but it also contains several provisions referring to intellectual property.

 

For instance, the treaty:

  • recognizes the rights of farmers and protects their traditional knowledge;
  • facilitates easier access to the plant genetic resources for food and agriculture which are protected by intellectual property rights;
  • establishes a balanced and fair sharing of financial and other benefits which arise from marketing the products of an agrarian food crop seed.

The governing body is the highest organ of the treaty and is responsible for its implementation. To facilitate the sharing of seeds, it has adopted a Standard Material Transfer Agreement. This agreement regulates access to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture as well as how the benefits which arise from the use of the seeds are shared.