Inderscience Publishers

Sustainable utilisation of crop genetic diversity through property rights mechanisms: the case of coffee genetic resources in Ethiopia

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The legally binding 'International treaty on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture' provides a framework to ensure access to crop genetic resources, technologies, and internationally agreed funding. However, this treaty applies only for a list of selected crops. Other crops, as for instance coffee, are not included. Besides other issues, the question arises how to design the access and benefit sharing for those crop genetic resources, which are not listed in Annex I of the treaty. The paper contributes to this debate, by discussing possibilities of access and benefit sharing and the underlying perceptions of property rights systems outside of the ITPGR. The endangered unique wild coffee populations of Coffea arabica in Ethiopia are examined as an example, in which an access and benefit sharing agreement has to be institutionalised and the underlying property rights have to be enforced and protected to prevent the tragedy of loosing the unique coffee genetic resources. The paper analyses how bilateral access and benefit sharing agreements and their underlying property rights contribute to the conservation of crop genetic resources outside of ITPGR.

Keywords: agrobiodiversity, bilateral access, benefit sharing, coffee, conservation, sustainable utilisation, crop genetic diversity, property rights economics, incentive mechanisms, moral hazards, Ethiopia, plant genetic resources, food, agriculture

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