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Global Justice and the Shift in Property Rights for Plant Genetic Resources


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de Goede, Ludo M. (2014) Global Justice and the Shift in Property Rights for Plant Genetic Resources. Asian Biotechnology and Development Review, 16 (1), pp. 35-67.

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Although new technologies in plant breeding have the potential to reduce poverty and improve global food security, a shift in property regime for plant genetic resources (PGRs) prevents this potential from being realised. As the emergence of biotechnology has increased the value of PGRs, rents-seeking behaviour by the plant breeding industry spurred the emergence of intellectual property rights (IPRs) for improved plant varieties. Whereas this system is globally implemented through the TRIPS agreement, biodiversity-rich developing countries increasingly use the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to protect their PGRs through state sovereignty. By using an economic perspective, this article aims to explain the appropriation of PGRs and the efficiency rationale that is used for its justification. However, as this perspective disregards the alarming consequences for smallholder farmers in developing countries, a global justice perspective is used to explore these effects. Focusing on distributional justice and the provision of the right to food, this article will demonstrate that the property regime shift for PGRs leads to decreased availability of, and access to, crops that are used by resource-poor farmers. Instead of promoting organic agricultural practices, based on the diversity of traditional seed systems and minimal external inputs, this regime merely stimulates the growth of an unsustainable and highly concentrated seed industry. The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR) seem to be most promising in challenging the shift in property regime for PGRs and the global justice concerns this shift entails.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:plant genetic resources (PGRs, intellectual property rights (IPRs), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), ITPGRFA, CGIAR, global justice
Agrovoc keywords:
Englishplant genetic resourceshttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_37419
EnglishIntellectual property rightshttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_37923
Englishglobal justiceUNSPECIFIED
Subjects: Knowledge management > Education, extension and communication > Technology transfer
Values, standards and certification
Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Knowledge management > Research methodology and philosophy
Research affiliation:Other countries
Deposited By: de Goede, Ludo M.
ID Code:27649
Deposited On:27 Jan 2015 13:54
Last Modified:27 Jan 2015 13:54
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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