At the Eight Session in 2019, the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) welcomed the Inventory of national measures, best practices, and lessons learned on the realization of farmers’ rights, and reconvened the Ad hoc Technical Expert Group on Farmers’ Rights (Expert Group) that was established at the Seven Session in 2017 (see here) to continue developing the Options for encouraging, guiding and promoting the realization of Farmers’ Rights, as set out in Article 9 of the International Treaty (the Options).

The Expert Group developed the Options drawing on experiences of Contracting Parties and stakeholders that were shared through the Inventory and a basic structure of the Options that the Governing Body had endorsed at its Eighth Session. A set of eleven categories (the same categories that were used in the Inventory, see categories of the Inventory here) was used to structure the Options, so that several options were presented under each category. For each category, the reference to relevant provisions of Article 9 of the International Treaty was provided, with explanation of why measures under that category could be regarded as options to encourage, guide, and promote the realization of Farmers’ Rights.

The description of each option included information on type(s) of measures that may be involved. Measures were classified into technical, legal, administrative and other types of measures, based on the following criteria (the same criteria were used to classify the types of measures in the Inventory):

  • Technical measures refer to initiatives/programmes/project activities that strengthen individual farmers’ or farming communities’ contributions to on-farm, in situ and ex situ conservation and/or sustainable use of PGRFA (e.g., documentation of PGRFA and related traditional knowledge, training and capacity development, community seed banks, seed-saver networks and seed fairs, participatory plant breeding and variety selection, farmer field schools);
  • Administrative measures refer to executive orders, ministerial, inter-ministerial, departmental instructions/circulars/memoranda, awards/recognition, establishment of protocols, codes, guidelines, etc.;
  • Legal measures refer to national/regional laws, policies and any other legal instruments (act, law, bill etc.);
  • Other measures refer to all other measures or practices, including studies, advocacy work, financial instruments.

The expert group carried out its work in virtual meetings, due to the pandemic during this biennium. After much discussion, it found consensus on all the text, except for one sentence in the introductory part and the options under Category 10, ‘Legal measures for the implementation of Farmers’ Rights, such as legislative measures related to PGRFA’. Here the co-chairs where mandated to prepare a proposal. Following from this, the document ‘Options for the realization of Farmers’ Rights and a proposal by the Co-Chairs for options under Category 10’, was presented to the Governing Body of the Plant Treaty at its Ninth Session in India in 2022.