This item sent to me today from Kalpana Sastry, Principal Scientist at NAARM. It is an article that provides an example from India of efforts to protect a vanishing traditional rice variety using legal protection. The effort is lead by CSK HP Krishi Vishvavidyalaya, an agricultural university.
Its hoped that local farmers contribution to conservation and improvement of the genetic resources will be rewarded. The legislation that will be utilised is the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act 2001, see a write up about the Act on the farmersrights blog. There are also plans to register the variety with a GI in order to promote market development. A good example of the positive uses of Intellectual Property protection that are compatible with public goods ethos.
This New York Times article tells the story of the “Catfish Wars”, which in itself is a fascinating tale – raising many issues about aquaculture in a development context. Specifically however, the issues about branding, labelling, origin and the effects this can have on markets was the reason for blogging this article. Halfway through the feature there is reference to the fact that in 1991 American catfish farmers pushed for amendments to the agriculture appropriations bill to prohibit Vietnamese catfish being called catfish in the US to differentiate their product. More recently new catfish crosses are to be launched under a new “brand” to disassociate from the troubled name.
Rebecca Tushnet on her blog sums up the issues comprehensively:
The NYT … feature [touches on] issues of false advertising (what is a catfish?), GIs (including the use of “Cajun” on fish not raised in the US, as well as country-of-origin labeling), and branding (including US growers’ decision to switch to the name Delacata in an attempt to leave the catfish wars behind).
Read the full article for the complete picture!