The recent GATT agreement and the Biodiversity Convention have moved intellectual property rights to the centre of South-North relations. Decisions about intellectual property, particularly for plant life,have major implications for food security, agriculture, rural development,and the environment for every country in the South and the North. For the South, in particular, the impact of intellectual property on farmers, rural societies, and biological diversity will be profoundly important.
- Patents granted for genetically engineered cotton could profoundly influence the future of a $20 billion crop critical to many national economies in the South.
- Farmers' organizations in Andean countries believe that patents granted for two varieties of coloured cotton do not recognize the major contribution to the new product by indigenous communities in South and Central America.