A Dysfunctional Plant Variety Protection System

Ten Years of UPOV Implementation in Francophone Africa

More than 10 years ago the new plant variety protections system – modelled on UPOV 1991 – entered into force in West Africa. This Working Paper studies how the system has been operationalized, the impact and relevance of UPOV 1991 for the region and, in particular, whether the promises of UPOV 1991 were ever realized for the 17 countries in the OAPI region.

The results of the investigation are staggering. It points to a dysfunctional PVP system that  does not fit the socio-economic and agricultural conditions prevailing in the region. While benefits have hardly been realized, states are burdened with the costs of implementation. This shows, once again, that the top-down approach of exporting legal frameworks  intended for developed countries to developing countries which have different circumstances, is a flawed colonial strategy, with significant costs and missed opportunities for people in West Africa.

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