Murmu said that 15 per cent of the world's population consists of Divyangjan, emphasizing that their empowerment is the top priority.
President Droupadi Murmu will inaugurate the first ‘Global Symposium on Farmers’ Rights’ (GSFR) at the ICAR Convention Centre, National Agricultural Science Centre Complex in New Delhi on September 12, said a government release on Monday.
India is hosting its first ‘Global Symposium on Farmers’ Rights’ from September 12 to 15, 2023.
A curtain raiser press meet related to the hosting of the GSFR was held on Monday by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmer’s Welfare (MoAFW) and the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPVFR) Authority.
Briefing the media, PPVFR Authority Chairperson T Mohapatra informed that India has been the first country in the world to include Farmers’ Rights in the context of Plant Variety Registration through its Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPVFR) Act, 2001.
He informed that eminent scientists would participate from 59 countries across the globe to deliberate during the sessions on how to recognize and reward the enormous contribution that local and indigenous communities and farmers of all regions of the world have made to the conservation and development of plant genetic resources (PGR).
He stressed that food systems across the world depend on seeds. New varieties of crops and planting materials drive agricultural production, self-sufficiency and food security. Plant genetic resources are the key to facing the challenges of malnutrition, climate change enhanced productivity, he said.
Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (DA&FW) Special Secretary Rakesh Ranjan informed that the proposal to hold the first GFSR was mooted by the Government of India at the Ninth Session of the Governing Body (GB9) of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (International Treaty) held in India in September 2022, which was agreed by the FAO.
Farmer’s Rights is an interconnected issue and a common understanding of the issue is required for a roadmap, he said.
FAO Representative in India, Takayuki Hagewara congratulated India for the successful organization of the recently concluded G20 Summit.
He appreciated the organizing capacity of India and the ability to embrace the diversity of people from different countries.
Diversity is important as it brings stability. Biodiversity, therefore, is required to support life and the GSFR is an event important for farmers and food security, he said.
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) Secretary Kent Nnadozie said that the Treaty works on the dictum “it all starts with a seed” and farmers are at the heart of the FAO’s work as the important intermediate between seed and food security.
He said that the GB9 was hosted by India in an excellent manner and was a build-up to this Global Symposium.
He further informed that Article 9 of the Treaty focuses on recognizing, realizing, and promoting Farmers’ Rights concerning plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA). The Treaty places the responsibility for realizing Farmers’ Rights on national governments and outlines potential measures to safeguard, enhance, and achieve these rights, he said.
Farmers are the custodians and holders of work done over millennia in selecting saving and sharing seeds for the availability of food to the world. The rights of farmers to save sow and share as well as space in the decision-making process are much needed and also to celebrate their contributions, he added.
He also emphasized the need to protect indigenous knowledge of farmers and the relevance of diversity in seeds and production systems. India has rich experience and shares knowledge to address common problems with collaboration.
Agricultural Commissioner, MoAFW, PK Singh stated that farmers provide food security to the world.
Plant breeder rights and farmers’ rights are part of the PPVFR Act 2001 Section 39 has all provisions for farmers’ rights. India has a leading role with respect to Farmers’ Rights, he said.
PPVFR Authority former Chairperson PL Gautam gave a historical perspective on the importance of the Treaty over the last three decades.
The early 1990s was a very crucial period as the importance of conserving biodiversity was realized and led to the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1992, which enshrined the sovereignty of nations over their biological resources, he said.
Further, he added, the FAO Treaty was adopted with two major issues left unattended by CBD one was the farmer’s rights and the other was ex-situ collections collected before CBD. The Treaty included these in their mandate and India played a big role in such negotiations.
Joint Secretary (Seeds) Pankaj Yadav informed that the newly constructed ‘Plant Authority Bhawan’, the office of the PPVFR Authority, and an online plant variety ‘Registration Portal’ would be inaugurated by the President.
The inaugural ceremony will also feature the presentation of the Farmers’ Award instituted by the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPVFR) Authority as per the provisions of the PPVFR Act, 2001, honouring ‘Plant Genome Saviour Communities’ and ‘Plant Genome Saviour Farmers of India’ for the years 2021 and 2022.
Organised by the Secretariat of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (International Treaty) of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Rome, the Global Symposium is being hosted by Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare in collaboration with Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPVFR) Authority, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), ICAR-Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), and ICAR-National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR).
Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Kailash Choudhary and Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Shobha Karandlaje will also be present at the event.