The Farmers' Rights Project focused on Farmers' Rights related to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, as they are recognised in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). There was substantial uncertainty as to how the provisions on Farmers' Rights under the International Treaty can be implemented and what the role of the Governing Body of the Treaty should be in this regard.

The overall objective of The Farmers Rights' Project was to provide an empirical basis and research-based guidance for constructive proposals to the Governing Body of ITPGRFA on the realization of Farmers' Rights as they are formulated in the International Treaty. Three project objectives were developed towards this end:

  • To provide an overview over, and assessment of, options available for the domestic implementation of Farmers' Rights under different conditions.
  • To identify potential ways and means for the Governing Body of ITPGRFA to promote the realization of Farmers' Rights.
  • To contribute to the understanding of the options available for the implementation of Farmers' Rights under ITPGRFA among its Parties and stakeholders.


The main components of the project were as follows:

  • Survey on the history of Farmers’ Rights, based on a document and literature review.
  • International multi-stakeholder questionnaire survey on Farmers’ Rights.
  • Case studies on Farmers’ Rights in India, Peru, Ethiopia and Norway.
  • Documentation of Success Stories from the Realization of Farmers' Rights.
  • The Lusaka informal international consultation process on Farmers' Rights (together with the governments of Zambia and Norway).
  • A website on Farmers’ Rights, which was later converted into the present one.
  • A workshop module on Farmers' Rights.
  • Various workshops and consultancies on the realization of Farmers’ Rights.
  • Research on civil society strategies for the implementation of Farmers' Rights.
  • The 2010 Global Consultations on Farmers’ Rights (in collaboration with the Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute).
  • Book on the realization of Farmers’ Rights.
  • Various side events and lectures on Farmers' Rights.

The intention of the project was to move ahead from earlier controversies, and – based on the consensus formulations in the Treaty – build bridges to a joint perception of needed action, in respect of the countries' freedom to choose measures according to their needs and priorities.

The project was initiated and led by Dr. Regine Andersen of the Fridtjof Nansen Institute between 2005 and 2012 and was funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) (Germany), Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Development Fund (Norway).

Text: Regine Andersen

Selected products from the Farmers' Rights Project