Panel backs farmers seed rights

New Delhi, Nov 28 | Updated: Nov 29 2006, 07:46am hrs
The Parliamentary standing committee report on the Seed Bill 2004 strongly recommended that farmers right to exchange unbranded seeds among themselves should be acknowledged.

It said, the Plant Varieties Protection & Farmers Rights (PVP&FR) Act 2001 should be made fully operative first, before implementing the proposed Bill. The new law should not undermine the provisions of PVP&FR Act, it said.

The committee on agriculture, headed by Ram Gopal Yadav, said the Bill should address the issue of promoting sale of newly developed seeds, and at the same time, ensure that farmers interests and sustainability of agriculture are not jeopardised. The law should strengthen the integrated growth of farmers and seed systems so that every farmer has access to quality planting materials at appropriate prices.

The report cautioned that the new law should not undermine the existing procedure for assessment and release of genetically modified (GM) seeds. It criticised the proposed provisional registration of GM seeds and also self-certification of seeds by seed companies.