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Intellectual property rights should be used to help valorise agricultural biodiversity and traditional knowledge for the benefit of the global population as well as small farming communities around the world, says Graham Dutfield of the University of Leeds.
Innovation in the agricultural sphere has never been as important for humanity as it is today. For this to be apparent one just has to think of the scale of human population and its continued growth, increasing urbanisation, and pressures on the environment.
What may be less obvious is the vital importance of biodiversity in the face of anthropogenic climate change. Agri-biodiversity contributes to mitigating climate change by enhancing resilience to extreme climatic events. As a resource base it affords small farming communities wide scope to adapt their cultivation practices to changing conditions, often on marginal lands that are unsuitable for modern intensive agriculture.
It is also a source of valuable genetic material for plant breeders, enabling them to respond to demand for high-quality crop varieties able to thrive wherever they are cultivated.
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Graham Dutfield, University of Leeds, farm, planet, high-quality, climate change, plant breeders, biotechnology, GI, intellectual property rights,