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This article explores some theoretical and empirical aspects of the debate on intellectual property rights for traditional farmers. The authors conclude that traditional farmers have their own concepts of intellectual property rights in folk varieties of plants, and that these differ considerably from the intellectual property rights applied in commercial agriculture.
They moot the possibility of taking advantage of the discourse on human rights and indigenous peoples' rights in discussing solutions to the question of intellectual property rights for traditional farmers to folk varieties. Finally, the authors argue that the conflict between industrial agriculture and indigenous farmers over rights to crop genetic resources may be easier to resolve if placed in the context of a common goal of sustainable agriculture. The article is commented by various experts - Janis B. Alcorn, Stephen B. Brush, Michael R. Dove, David R. Downes, Donald N. Duvik, Cary Fowler, Anil K. Gupta, Ashish Kothari and Paul Richard - to which the authors reply, and conclude the discussion.