Saturday, 25 February 2017

Plant variety

Plant variety is a legal term, following the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) Convention. Recognition of a cultivated plant (a cultivar) as a "variety" in this particular sense provides its breeder with some legal protection, so-called plant breeders' rights, depending to some extent on the internal legislation of the UPOV signatory countries, such as the Plant Variety Protection Act in the US.

This "variety" (which will differ in status according to national law) should not be confused with the international taxonomic rank of "variety" (regulated by the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants), nor with the term "cultivar" (regulated by the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants). Some horticulturists use "variety" imprecisely; for example, viticulturists almost always refer to grape cultivars as "grape varieties".

source: wikipedia


The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) was established by the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants ("UPOV Convention"). The UPOV Convention was adopted on December 2, 1961, by a Diplomatic Conference held in Paris.

The UPOV Convention came into force on August 10, 1968, having been ratified by the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany. The UPOV Convention has been revised on November 10, 1972, on October 23, 1978, and on March 19, 1991, in order to reflect technological developments in plant breeding and experience acquired with the application of the UPOV Convention.

States and certain intergovernmental organizations wanting to accede to the UPOV Convention have laws on plant variety protection in line with the 1991 Act of the Convention.

The UPOV system of plant variety protection came into being with the adoption of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants by a Diplomatic Conference in Paris on December 2, 1961. This was the point at which there was recognition of the rights of plant breeders on an international basis.

The UPOV Convention provides a sui generis form of intellectual property protection which has been specifically adapted for the process of plant breeding and has been developed with the aim of encouraging breeders to develop new varieties of plants.

The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) is an intergovernmental organization with headquarters in Geneva (Switzerland).

Plant variety protection system in India

Plant variety protection system is adopted in India under the Act “Protection of Plant Variety and Farmer’s Rights Act, 2001, to meet the obligation under Article 27(3) (b) of the TRIPS Agreement. This Act was enacted to protect the rights of farmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new plant varieties.

In exercise of the power conferred under sub-section (1) of the Section 3 of the PPV&FR Act, 2001, the Central Government vide gazette notification No. S.O. 1589 (E) dated 11th November, 2005 established the “Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority” for the purpose of implementing of the Act. With the appointment of the Chairperson of the Authority and gazette notification in November 2005, the Authority became functional. The Protection and Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Right Regulations were notified on 7th December, 2006.

The PPV & FR Registry started the process of receiving PVP applications for registration and protection of eligible varieties of notified genera of crops with effect from 21 May 2007.

The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Act, 2001

Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers' Rights Authority


Establishment of effective system for protection of plant varieties, the rights of farmers in respect of their contribution made at any time in conserving, improving and making available plant genetic resources and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new varieties of plants.


Accelerated agricultural development in the country to stimulate investment for research and development both in the public and private sector for the development of new plant varieties thus facilitating the growth of the seed industry in the country with a view to ensure the availability of high quality seeds and planting material to the farmers.


(a) The registration of new extant plant varieties subject to such terms and conditions and in the manner as may be prescribed.

(b) The developing characterization and documentation of varieties registered under this Act

(c) Documentation, indexing and cataloguing of farmers’ varieties

(d) Compulsory cataloguing facilities for all varieties of plants

(e) Ensuring that seeds of the varieties registered under this Act are available to farmers and providing for compulsory licensing of such varieties if the breeder of such varieties or any other person entitled to produce such variety under this Act does not arrange for production and sale of the seed in the manner as may be prescribed

(f) Collecting statistics with regard to plant varieties, including the contribution of any person at any time in the evolution or development of any plant variety, in India or in any other country, for compilation and publication

(g) Ensuring the maintenance of the Register


i. Providing IPR protection to plant varieties, bred by farmers, researchers / plant breeders in the form of plant variety registration

ii. Maintaining National Register of Plant varieties wherein details of plant varieties and the rights of respective breeders are mentioned

iii. To provide compensation to the farmers in case a registered variety does not perform as per the claim made by the breeders.

iv. Benefit sharing to the communities / farmers for the contribution / sharing of plant genetic resources.

 v. To create awareness and capacity building for the rights of plant breeders and farmers towards implementation of PPV & FR Act.

vi. Providing plant varieties data base to stake holders.

 vii. To support and reward farmers, community of farmers, particularly the tribal and rural communities engaged in conservation, improvement and preservation of genetic resources.

Grievances Redressal Mechanism

Registrar General, PPV & FRA is the designated officer for redressal of Public Grievances and can be addressed to: 
Registrar General Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Right Authority S-2, 
A Block, NASC Complex, Opp. Todapur Village New Delhi -110012


·         Draft DUS Guidelines
Application Receving Address :
Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Authority
Govt. of India, Ministry of Agriculture,
Department of Agriculture and Co-operation,
NASC Complex, DPS Marg, Opp- Todapur Village,
New Delhi-110 012 
Tel: +91-11-25840777






Benefits of Plant Variety Protection 
The agricultural sector is the backbone of the economy and employment in most developing countries. Its share of the gross domestic product (GDP) is often more than 50 percent and, in some countries, up to 80 percent of the active population earn their living in agriculture. But in most of these countries, agricultural productivity is extremely low, with yields often low and unstable from year to year. A large proportion of this agricultural activity is subsistence farming that generates no financial income and is, in many cases, insufficient to feed farmers’ families. Under those circumstances, the agricultural sector is unable to contribute to a country’s overall economic development and, even less, to respond to the challenges of feeding a growing population, relieving rural poverty and mitigating climate change.
One of the reasons for poor agricultural performance in many developing countries is a lack of progress in improving the performance of traditional plant varieties over the centuries. In contrast, the graphs (at right) illustrate progress achieved in wheat yield in France and maize yield in the U.S. over a period of two centuries. Clearly, the advent of modern plant breeding has enabled yields – which previously were stagnating or declining – to increase substantially. It is estimated that improved varieties have accounted for more than 50 percent of overall yield increases for important crops in Europe. The remaining growth is due to improved agricultural techniques, including fertilizers and better pest and disease control. But improvement in yield is not the only major objective in modern plant breeding. Others include resistance to environmental and biological stress, and quality. 


Conserving the genetic diversity of our crops, landraces and related wild species is essential  to ensure  future plant breeders can access  this variation, especially in view of increased food demand  by a growing world population and climate change.
Gene banks are repositories where biological material is collected, stored, catalogued and made available for redistribution.
The main role of plant gene banks is to preserve genetic diversity, in the form of seeds or cuttings in the case of plants reproduced vegetatively, and subsequently make this material, together with associated information,  available for future use in research and plant breeding.
Gene banks are sometimes also referred to as an ex-situ conservation facility (because biological materials are conserved outside their natural habitat).

Seeds are first dried (to prevent germination during storage) and kept at low temperatures to increase longevity.
An important part of the work at gene banks is to ensure the seed collection remains alive: seeds need to be periodically checked for viability and the material regenerated to replenish the collection with fresh seed and planting materials.
Seed banks can be set up at the community, national and international level.
Because the crops we rely for food are grown in parts of the world distant to the centres of their domestication, the sharing of genetic material across national borders for research and plant breeding is essential.