To register or not to register, that is the question

Sharing views and experiences around the registration of farmers’ varieties

Webinar co-organized by the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT and Oxfam Netherlands


Over the course of the last few decades, there has been a growing appreciation of the crop varieties developed by local farmers – commonly referred to as farmers’ varieties. These varieties often have attractive characteristics for both producers and consumers, such as adaptability to harsh environmental conditions and high nutritional values. And yet, they are usually not sold in the open market and tend to be limited to farmers’ informal networks.

This is partially due to national seed laws that, in an effort to guarantee good quality seed, create obstacles for farmers’ varieties to reach the market. While many consider that this problem needs to be addressed, other experts argue that subjecting farmers to formal seed laws can negatively affect farmer seed systems’ capacity to innovate and contribute to crop diversity.

Webinar’s objectives:

  • Exchange information about current status of discussions around the registration of farmers’ varieties.
  • Learn about experiences with different approaches to the registration of farmers’ varieties.
  • Share thoughts on advantages and risks related to the registration of farmers’ varieties.


Gloria Otieno is a Genetic Resources and Food Security Policy Specialist at Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT where she has been working on integrated seed system development, resilient seed systems for climate change adaptation, access and benefit sharing, and farmers’ rights.

Bram De Jonge is Seed Policy Advisor at Oxfam Novib, the Netherlands, where is involved in the ‘Sowing Diversity = Harvesting Security‘ program. He is also a researcher at the Law & Governance Group of Wageningen University, specialized in the fields of Intellectual Property Rights, Access and Benefit-Sharing and Seed Laws.

Riccardo Bocci is the Director of the Italian Rural Seed Network since 2011. He has been involved in various international projects aiming to conserve and add value to agricultural biodiversity, including the two EU-funded projects Farm Seed Opportunities and Solibam (Strategies for organic and low-input integrated breeding and management).

Pitambar Shrestha works as Programme Operations Director with the Nepalese organization Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LIBIRD), where he does research on agricultural biodiversity and empowerment of local and farmer organizations.


Isabel Lopez Noriega,
Scientist, Policy Specialist
Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT
[email protected]