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Protecting plant genetic resources is a shared responsibility: Tomar

Protecting plant genetic resources is shared responsibility of humanity - Tomar (1)

Protecting plant genetic resources is a shared responsibility of humanity: Tomar

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has stated that the protection of plant genetic resources, which are vulnerable owing to habitat degradation and climate change, is a shared responsibility of humanity, and that traditional knowledge can contribute to their preservation.

‘We must use all current technology as well as traditional knowledge to protect and use them in a sustainable manner,’ Tomar said on Monday, speaking at the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture’s (ITPGRFA) 9th governing body conference. The ninth session will be held in India. 149 countries have ratified the convention.

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Member countries must emphasize the conservation and utilization of small millets, underutilized potential crops, and crop wild cousins before it is too late, according to Tomar. ‘Your decisions and actions are critical in our struggle for climate-resilient agriculture and nutritional security. No agreements are conceivable at the expense of food security,’ he said, adding that the global conference must remember that food is the most basic human right. Developing countries will be motivated by the need to ensure that the ‘rights of farmers producing food’ are never jeopardized.

Tomar stated that the ITPGRFA is struggling to reach an agreement on problems such as digital sequence information, multi-purpose plant species, benefit sharing rates, and so on. He urged member countries to ‘revive, reset, and recuperate’ in order to discover the best paths forward, as plant genetic resources are the source of answers to breeding difficulties.

Commercial interests must be balanced

He stated that India is steadfast in its belief and actions about its commitments to the multilateral accord. ‘However, we will fail to make any progress unless we eradicate the division between North and South, and convergence of the treaty founders’ ambitions,’ Tomar stated. The minister also stated that genetic information derived from advanced genomic and bioinformatic techniques has the potential to be protected by intellectual property rights. Traditional knowledge, on the other hand, is passed down over generations and becomes common knowledge.

‘Multilateral forums like ITPGRFA have the role of balancing commercial interests and heritage values to assure the continuance of plant genetic resource conservation on the planet,’ he explained. Tomar stated that people all around the world have saved irreplaceable genetic resources and that the treaty must allow for the access and exchange of all crop genetic resources.

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Stating that plant genetic resources must be made available for study and sustainable usage, he stated that it is critical that every dollar of commerce resulting from plant genetic resources acquired through the system be shared equally for the aim of plant genetic resource conservation.

Tomar emphasized that global agricultural research should shift from a few major crops to minor millets, minor pulses, and minor fruits and leafy vegetables because these are the best weapons against climate change and malnutrition, and that special programs should be established to document, research, exchange, and use genetic resources from these crop groups.