The global seed sector is increasingly driven by proprietary controls, turning the seed that grows into our food into a ‘commercial proprietary resource’. This trend has severe impacts on farmers and their informal seed systems, resulting in increased economic and ecological costs and making farmers lose their control over their natural resources.
Existing legal frameworks primarily upholds breeders' and researchers' rights, granting farmers only residual rights. The Hivos-Oxfam Novib Knowledge Programme on agricultural biodiversity, with its partners, is exploring alternatives to the current system. A project of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) in India was supported to develop a proof of concept of an Open Source Seed System, as an alternative institutional and legal framework to protect farmers' rights and access to seed.