Sustainable Seed Innovation 1.0

International Development and Intellectual Property: The Impact of Seed Exchange and Replacement on Innovation among Small-Scale Farmers in India

This international and interdisciplinary collaboration received funding from the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Global Challenges award. The 9-month project concluded with the Sustainable Seed Innovation Round-table in Bangalore. The event’s objective was to identify ways to support sustainable seed innovation with a particular focus on intellectual property.

Traditional agriculture in the fullest sense involves sustainable seed innovation.

Historically farmers selected the best seeds, saved them from one season to another and exchanged seeds with other farmers. Periodically new varieties developed through this system of cultivation, seed selection, and exchange.  India’s incredible agro-biodiversity is not just due to environmental conditions, but also the innovation of farmers over thousands of years.

Sustainable seed innovation requires: i) the conservation of traditional varieties and ii) farmer innovation of new varieties through seed selection. Genetic material can be preserved through seed banks (ex-situ conservation), while cultivation of traditional varieties ensures continual adaptation to local conditions (in-situ conservation). Groups supporting traditional agricultural practices and the farmers following these practices have achieved the first step of sustainable seed innovation. The second step of innovating new varieties happens less often and does not receive the recognition and encouragement deserved.

This event was held on Friday the 15th of September at  The Art of Living International Center, Bangalore, India.

Event Schedule

Time Agenda Presentation Title/Topic
09:30 Arrivals: Tea and Coffee
10:00-10:10 Rugmani Prabhakar, Head – Sustainable Development-The Art of Living Foundation Introduction to the Round Table Series
10:10-10:30 Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Gurudev Inauguration Lamp Lighting and Welcome
10:30-10:40 Professor Gregory Radick, University of Leeds Innovation, Plant Breeding and Intellectual Property
10:45-10:55 Dr. Mrinalini Kochupillai, Max Planck Institute of Innovation and Competition Seed Replacement or Sustainable Innovations?
11:00-11:15 Dr. Natalie Kopytko, University of Leeds Quality vs. Quantity: Diversity in Sustainable Seed Innovation
11.20-11.30 Dr. Suman Sahai, Gene Campaign Gene Campaign – Importance of indigenous seeds in Sustainable Agriculture
11:35-11:45 Dr. Prabhakar Rao, Trustee, Art of Living Agriculture Trust Farmer Participation in Crop Breeding Programs in India – A Roadmap
11.45 -12.00 Q & A
12:05-12:15 Mr. Sanjay Patil, BAIF Development Research Foundation Community Led Seed Conservation, Community Seed Banks and Farmers Rights – BAIF Experiences in Maharashtra
12:20-12:30 Ms. Sunita K Sreedharan, Attorney The Current Challenges with Benefit Sharing in the Biodiversity Act and PPVFRA
12.35 – 12.45 Dr. K.K.Sharma, Assam Agricultural University Rice Conservation and Stakeholder Awareness of PPVFRA
12.50 -13.00 Mr. Pitambar Shrestha, Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development LI-BRD Participatory Approaches to Promoting Farmers’ Seed System and Conservation and Utilization of Agricultural Biodiversity in Nepal
13.05 – 13.15 Q & A
13.15 – 14.15 Lunch
14:15-16.15 Round-table Moderators 4 round-tables: IP/Participatory plant breeding/Outreach and awareness/Research
Sunita Sreedharan, Dr. Suman Sahai Policy, Legal frameworks & Intellectual Property
Pitambar Shrestha, Dr. Prabhakar Rao, Dr. K.K. Sharma Participatory plant breeding
Shamika Mone, Nagaraj Ganguli Outreach and awareness of indigenous seeds
Dr. Mrinalini Kochupillai, Sanjay Patil, Dr. Uday Kumar Importance of research on sustainable seed innovation
16.15-17.00 Moderators present takeaways of each round table discussions
17.05-17.30 Sanjay Khatal, Director Commercial National Seeds Corporation of India & Dr. Prabhakar Rao Roadmap for National policy on upscaling of indigenous seeds
17.35- 17.45 Closing Remarks & Vote of Thanks


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