Last updated: 04/02/2016

Farmers' Rights

In its Article 9, the International Treaty recognizes the enormous contribution that the local and indigenous communities and farmers of all regions of the world, particularly those in the centers of origin and crop diversity, have made and will continue to make for the conservation and development of plant genetic resources which constitute the basis of food and agriculture production throughout the world. It gives governments the responsibility for implementing Farmers' Rights, and lists measures that could be taken to protect and promote these rights:

  • - The protection of traditional knowledge relevant to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture;
  • - The right to equitably participate in sharing benefits arising from the utilization of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture; and
  • - The right to participate in making decisions, at the national level, on matters related to the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

   The International Treaty also recognizes the importance of supporting the efforts of farmers and local and indigenous communities in the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, including through a funding strategy. In this strategy priority will be given to the implementation of agreed plans and programmes for farmers in developing countries, especially in least developed countries, and in countries with economies in transition, who conserve and sustainably utilize plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

Resources and submissions received

You can use the Treaty's Documentation Centre to search for resources on Farmers' Rights

Submissions of Views and Experiences on the Implementation of Farmers’ Rights Submitted by Contracting Parties and Relevant Organizations

An ancestral process

The emergence of agriculture, and with it of civilization, roughly 10000 years ago started the process of domestication, by farmers, of the plants and animals that today feed the world. Agriculture emerged independently in different continents, in what are called "the centers of origin" of crops. When our ancestors started to identify, collect, farm and disseminate those agricultural species, a process was set afoot of mutual adaptation between humans and the plants they grew, and between these plants and their environment. While we depend on cultivated plants to satisfy the basic human need for food, crops depend on humanity for their continued existence: much of their genetic diversity can only survive through continued human use and conservation.