Protecting plant varieties as part of the overall agriculture policy

Photo credit: East African Business Week

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Rwanda to Protect Plant Varieties


KIGALI, Rwanda – The government is looking into protecting its unique plant varieties as part of the overall agriculture policy. 

Statistics show that by 2050 the population of Africa will have doubled. This  requires an urgent need of productivity in agriculture which at present is still very low.

Santos said, “There is a possibility of using more advanced seeds derived from research that has been done all over the world, but to have access to such seeds we need to have an enabling environment which is missing in many African countries. This is why ARIPO came out with this new framework which will assist member states to be able to provide this legal framework that will attract investments in the seed industry, attract new varieties of plants, and provide possibilities of growing a new type of industry in that area,” he said.

Although Rwanda is a small country, researchers say it has a remarkable variety of flora, comprising of Guinea, Congolese and Sudanese vegetation type.

ARIPO is an inter-government organization comprised of 19 member states from Africa. Its purpose is to administer intellectual property rights such as patents, copyrights, trademarks among others.

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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