Compulsory licensing of seeds on the anvil

By TheHindu on 01 Aug 2017 | read

The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPVFR) Authority is framing the regulations for a compulsory licensing system under which a registered plant variety could be licensed to a third party for production of seeds, based on the demand from farmers.

Registrar General of the authority R.C. Agrawal said here on Tuesday that the system was designed to suit public interests.

“Under the provisions of the PPVFR Act 2001, the authority can license production to a third party for a specific period of time, even if the breeder is not willing, provided there is demand from farmers and the breeder cannot produce seeds in sufficient quantity”.

Talking to The Hindu on the sidelines of a State-level awareness camp organised by the authority, Dr. Agrawal said the compulsory licensing system had not been implemented so far only because there had been no such demand from farmers.

The PPVFR Authority is responsible for the protection of plant varieties under intellectual property rights. It also maintains the National Register of Plant Varieties and the National Gene Bank.

Online registration

He said the authority was preparing to launch an online system that would make it easier for farmers, plant breeders and researchers across the country to submit applications for registration of new, extant and essentially derived plant varieties.

The facility would also enable the applicants to make online payment of the prescribed fees and keep track of the registration process through a website or the SMS system on their mobile phone.

“All the documents needed for registration can be filed online. Most of the work on the system has been completed. It will be hosted on a government server. We hope to get it operational by the end of January”.

520 certificates

Dr. Agrawal said the authority had issued 520 registration certificates so far.

He said the authority was preparing an extended list of crop species eligible for registration as new varieties. “By next March, the list is expected to go up to 80 from the current 57.”

He said the southern regional office of the authority to be established in Thiruvananthapuram would be the third one after Ranchi and Guwahati.

Dr. Agrawal said Kerala had claimed two of the six Plant Genome Saviour Community awards conferred by the PPVFRA on farming or tribal communities for conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources in the 22 agro biodiversity hotspots across India.