Protecting the rights of farmers and communities while securing long term market access for producers of non-timber forest products: experience in Southern Africa

Lombard, C., and Leakey, R.R.B. (2010) Protecting the rights of farmers and communities while securing long term market access for producers of non-timber forest products: experience in Southern Africa. Forest, Trees and Livelihoods, 19 (3). pp. 235-249.

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The participatory domestication of agroforestry trees as an incentive to alleviate poverty, malnutrition, hunger and land degradation has to be linked to the commercialization of the products in ways that ensure that the farmers are the beneficiaries of their germplasm improvement activities, as well as from the marketing of the products. Currently, international law is deficient in providing adequate protection of the rights of poor farmers and their communities as the legal instruments of Intellectual Property legislation are focussed more on the protection of commercial companies and entrepreneurs. PhytoTrade Africa is engaged in addressing the sustainable use and commercialisation of natural products produced by indigenous plants, especially trees of the Miombo woodlands in southern Africa. Initially the market focus has been on wild-harvested naturally occurring resources using innovative approaches to protecting the Intellectual Property Rights of poor communities and the businesses they work with, including Patents, Trade Marks, and Geographical Indicators, with the intention of securing long term strategic market access and to be able to influence commercial strategy. The approach which has been developed is to work with indigenous communities and local companies and to help them to secure long-term access to these markets through the protection of their intellectual property rights. Experience to date indicates that, by enabling market opportunities for these local resources, significant livelihood options for otherwise marginalised farmers and producers can be facilitated. Partnerships between producers and the local-to-global cosmetic, food, beverage, herbal medicine and pharmaceutical industries are developed by carefully constructing commercial agreements with leaders in the relevant sector. Critically this involves the establishment of a strong and viable trade association that is forward thinking and market oriented. Through these partnerships it is possible to ensure long term relationships and supply agreements. Such agreements ensure that the target producers remain in the value chain. This paper also explores opportunities for protecting farmer-improved germplasm through the registration of Plant Breeders Rights in compliance with the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) and proposals for an affiliated African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI).

Item ID: 17300
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1472-8028
Date Deposited: 31 May 2011 22:36
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0705 Forestry Sciences > 070504 Forestry Management and Environment @ 100%
SEO Codes: 82 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8201 Forestry > 820199 Forestry not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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