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Keywords:

  • material transfer agreement;
  • genetic resources for food and agriculture;
  • patents;
  • breeders' rights

The International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture established a system for the facilitated exchange of seeds for breeding, research and training for a number of crops that are essential for food security. A key element for the implementation of the system will be the adoption and putting into practice of a material transfer agreement (MTA) that, among other provisions, should contain and obligation to pay in cases where the further use of the materials received is limited. This article examines the complex legal and practical issues raised by the drafting of the MTA and suggests ways of addressing them consistently within the Treaty, interpreted in accordance with the principles of customary international law.