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Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV)

UPOV is the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, headquartered in Geneva. The Union was established in 1961 by a diplomatic conference in Paris. At the same time, the first UPOV Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants was adopted. Since coming into force in 1968, it has undergone numerous revisions (of which the last was in 1991).

The UPOV Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants radically strengthens the rights of breeders, but does so to the detriment of farmers' rights. It bans the exchange of protected seeds and propagating material among agriculturists. Reproduction with certain propagating materials is also prohibited (examples include fruit trees, berries and vegetables). Member states may give limited approval for the reproduction of seeds in exceptional cases – but this only applies to seeds reproduced on the agriculturist's own farm.

To ensure that the safety of food supplies is not jeopardised and to enable the conservation of biodiversity in agriculture, Public Eye advocates respect for farmers' rights: they should be freely able to reproduce, exchange and sell seeds and propagating materials.

For more information check our French or German website.