Options for participatory research on PGRFA
This is the seventh category of options to encourage, guide and promote the realization of Farmers’ Rights in the Options Document. It comprises options for participatory approaches to research on PGRFA, including characterization and evaluation, participatory plant breeding and variety selection.
About this category of options
In the International Treaty, Contracting Parties recognize the enormous contribution that the local and indigenous communities and farmers of all regions of the world, particularly those in the centres of origin and crop diversity, have made and will continue to make for the conservation and development of PGRFA (Art. 9.1). Involving farmers and farming communities in participatory research on PGRFA may be one way of expressing recognition.
Measures under this category may also contribute to the realization of the right to the protection of traditional knowledge (Art. 9.2.a), as activities for documenting, sharing and applying traditional knowledge are of great importance for the success of participatory research projects. Furthermore, participatory research may contribute to the right to equitably participate in sharing benefits arising from the utilization of PGRFA (Art. 9.2.b), since results and practical outcomes of such projects may be directly used and applied by farmers, which may imply monetary as well as non-monetary benefits.
Depending on how such projects are designed and set up, they may also contribute to the right to participate in making decisions on matters related to the conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA (Art. 9.2c), for example if farmers can participate in setting objectives and priorities of the research.
Participatory research may further contribute to the realization of rights mentioned in Art. 9.3 of the International Treaty, if activities cover directly or indirectly issues relating to farmers’ practices to save, use, exchange and sell seed. For example, they could help enhance scientific understanding of the importance of such activities for the conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA; or they could help identify or develop good practices.
There are three options:
- Option 7A: Involve farmers in the characterization, evaluation and selection of PGRFA, including landraces/farmers’ varieties, and/or new varieties, populations and genebank accessions.
- Option 7B: Develop participatory plant breeding programmes or projects.
- Option 7C: Conduct participatory research on other aspects of PGRFA.