9470 - Biotech crops, property rights and agricultural diversity in Brazil

The aim of this paper is to discuss the role of cultivar protection regulations in the availability of conventional seeds in Brazilian agriculture. The expansion of intellectual property rights has stimulated innovative research on breeding in Brazil, mainly on the biotech applications, but this may constitute a challenge to the adoption of policies aiming to preserve agrobiodiversity. The institutional apparatus tends to reward standardization and homogeneity, favoring the concentration of the seeds market and the establishment of segmented forms of agriculture. The advent of biotech crops at the beginning of this century has accentuated this tendency and has also contributed to a reduction of conventional plant breeders. The extension of property rights in biotechnology and seed technology, with the establishment of patents in plant breeding and seed supply, certainly reward investments on research and innovation; but on the other hand they reduce the access of many farmers to conventional cultures, leading to a loss in agrobiodiversity.

Our study is divided into six parts. The first part analyzes soy production, both NGM (non -genetically modified) and GM (genetically modified), in Brazil, emphasizing the relevance of soy production on the national scenario. The second part attempts to define the legal framework that undergirds research on genetic improvement, for which purposes the National Cultivar Registry (RNC)) and the Law of Cultivar Protection (LPC) have been analyzed. From there we go on to describe the Brazilian seed industry, starting from a sketch of its production chain. The next section looks at the seed sector market structure. Given the measurement difficulties that emerge regarding data for this industry, firms that registered their cultivars at the RNC during the 1998 to-2008 period were used as a proxy. Some Brazilian programs for genetic improvement were also described. In the fifth part, we provide a summary of results, followed by bibliographic references.

Keywords: Biotech crops, GMO, property rights, cultivars

Author: Rocha dos Santos, Roseli (UniBrasil, Brazil / Brasilien)


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