Journal of African Law, 51, 2 (2007), 285–315 E School of Oriental and African Studies.
In 2005 the government of Ethiopia prepared many proclamations, regulations and guidelines dealing with biosafety, traditional knowledge and plant breeders’ rights, with a view to implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Cartagena Protocol to the CBD on Biosafety (CPB), and to joining the World Trade Organization. In the course of the lengthy negotiations of the Food and Agriculture Organization International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the Ethiopian government decided not to include coffee in the list, annexed to the treaty, of plants covered by the multilateral system of facilitated germplasm flows. The purpose of this paper is to analyse these texts and the potential bargaining power of Ethiopia regarding coffee germplasm transactions, after a rapid description of the general context of seed production and seed markets in Ethiopia. It concludes that policies aimed at improving germplasm and final product quality, and rewarding farmers for their contribution in this process, are paramount.
[*] Visiting Scholar, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. This research was funded by the Central Fund for Research, University of London, United Kingdom, which I thank deeply. It is part of the European Commission’s 6th Framework Programme project, Impacts of the Intellectual Property Rights Rules on Sustainable Development, coordinated by Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute, London, United Kingdom. More information is available at ,http://www.ip4development.org. (last accessed 14 June 2007). The views expressed should not be taken to represent the views of the European Commission or of the member states of the European Union