International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

General Detail

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: Rome, Italy
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: 29/06/2004

Category

Environment and products

Sub category

Flora and fauna

Groups

FAO

What is it about?

The purpose of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is to ensure the conservation and the sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture – defined as “any genetic material of plant origin of actual or potential value for food and agriculture” – and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits derived from their use. The Treaty brings governments, farmers and plant breeders together and offers a multilateral framework for accessing genetic resources and sharing their benefits. The Multilateral System established by the Treaty protects thirty-five food crops and twenty-nine forage crops. They represent the most important food crops on which countries rely. In addition, the world’s most important gene bank collection, around 600.000 samples, held by the “Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research” (CGIAR), will be put under the realm of the Treaty.

Why is it relevant?

The Governing Body of the Treaty, composed by the countries that have ratified it, sets out the conditions for access and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of plant genetic resources. In order to allow farmers, plant breeders and research institutions to access genetic resources, a standard material transfer agreement (MTA) is adopted by the Governing Body. When a commercial product is developed using these resources, farmers, plant breeders and research institutions have to pay an equitable share of the resulting monetary benefit, if this product is not made available to other potential users for further research and breeding. If the commercial product is freely available, the payment is voluntary. Funds arisen out of the System will be equally shared in order to finance projects aimed at farmers in developing countries and countries with economy in transition, who conserve plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. In addition, the Multilateral System will reduce transaction costs for the exchange of plant genetic material between countries, farmers, plant breeders and research institutions all over the world.

Additional Information

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