The International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) is used for the conservation and sustainable use of all plant genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of their use in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity, for sustainable agriculture and food security.

The main objectives of the treaty are:

  • Establishing a global system to enable farmers, plant breeders and scientists to access to plant genetic materials.
  • Recognizing the contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops currently used to feed the world.;
  • Provide the opportunity to share benefits derived from the use of these genetic materials with the countries where they originated
The treaty makes provision for the following:

1. Multilateral system

This is an innovative system and solution to access and benefit sharing. Sixty-four crops are available in a global pool of genetic resources that is freely available to users of the treaty’s ratifying nations for research, breeding and training.

2. Access to benefit sharing

The treaty facilitates access of genetic resources. Treaty ratifying nations can access the material for research purposes but can claim intellectual property rights over those resources in the form that they receive them. Those who access genetic materials through the Multilateral System agree to share any benefits from their use through four benefit-sharing mechanisms established by the Treaty.

3. Sustainable use

The treaty aims to maximise the use and breeding of all crops and promotes development of diverse farming systems by not only focusing on crops such as rice, wheat, maize and potatoes.

Farmers’ rights

Farmers right and traditional knowledge is recognized in the treaty. This will enable the increased participation of farmers in national decision making and will ensure they share in the benefits from the use of these resources.

SANSOR supports South Africa to ratify the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, as well as supporting the implementation of Farmers’ Rights as described in Article 9 of the ITPGRFA at a national level. It is important to note however that SANSOR is strictly against the inclusion of digital sequence information within the scope of the ITPGRFA. SANSOR is in general against any regulation for digital sequence information.

For more information on SANSOR’s position on:


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