Protection of Indian Traditional Rice Varieties: Role of PPV and FRA

Protection of Indian Traditional Rice Varieties: Role of PPV and FRA

Moghanraj Yadhav G. (VAANGHAI, Nagapattinam, India), Balaguru Balakrishnan (Jamal Mohamed College, Tiruchirappalli, India) and Nagamurugan N. (Government Arts College, Madurai, Tamilnadu, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1835-9.ch008


The crop genetic diversity has been sustainably maintained by the farmers of different regions for generations through cross-breeding. Competition among commercial ventures has placed these traditional varieties under severe exploitation and pilferage. The Indian government, to preserve these traditional varieties, has established PPV and FRA (Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act), which are on par with Intellectual Patent Rights (IPR). This gives the rights and ownership of the crop breed and its characterization to the traditional farmers who developed it. The researchers along with VAANGHAI, an NGO, have represented the traditional farmers, who are growing and maintaining traditional crops in Cauvery River's coastal delta region in Tamil Nadu to characterize and register their varieties under PPV and FRA. This study has identified around 69 rice varieties and characterized them based on their uniqueness, distinctiveness, stability, uniformity, test trials, and adaptability potential. Most potential rice varieties were registered under this act.
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Traditional Knowledge (TK) or Indigenous Knowledge (IK) is generally referred to as traditional and cultural practices of native people in a specific geographic area, wherein their knowledge is orally passed on from generation to generation. The knowledge pertains to their culture, environment and innovative remedies, as solutions for problems identified at local levels (Warren, 1992). It is normally associated with folk nomenclatures and herbal medicine (Farnsworth 1988), taxonomies of plants (Berlin, 1992), the environment (Ellen et al. 2000), disease aetiology (Berlin and Berlin 1996), and agricultural practices (Brush 1992). It also comprises utilisation of natural resources for agriculture, health and management by developing innovative technologies and passing on the information through cultural transmission, by native tribes/people in a territory, and most important is constantly evolving in response to the changing environment (Mafongoya and Ajayi, 2017). This deep and long-established relationship with the natural environment has taught these indigenous people to adapt well to the dynamic environment and respond to the impacts of climate change (Ihenacho et al., 2019).

This traditional knowledge is depleting at an alarming rate due to the adaptation of commercially viable modern technologies and the negligence of traditional farming practices. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2009) has indicated that rising temperature, drought, flood, desertification and weather extremes will severely affect agriculture. Agricultural researchers worldwide are working towards minimising such calamities and other effects of climate change to increase productivity within a finite natural resource basis. Finally, they have concluded that traditional agro-ecosystem is one of the best alternatives to mitigate the ensuing climate, because these systems are less vulnerable to catastrophic loss, and they have the option to grow a wide range of crops and varieties in various spatial and temporal arrangements. Preservation of these traditional varieties will help in sustaining valuable crop varieties in future especially for their unique characteristics and cultural identities. This chapter identifies such crop varieties, characterises and assists in registering them under the aegis of PPV & FRA (Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act) on behalf of rural traditional farmers in Tamil Nadu, India.

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