South Africa’s new Plant Breeders’ Rights Act and its effect on farmers’ rights and farmer managed seed systems

In this updated briefing, the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) warns that the Plant Breeder’s Rights Act (PBR) 2018 will impact negatively on small-scale farmers and calls for exemptions in the Regulations to protect farmers’ rights.

The PBR,  together with the new Plant Improvement Act (PIA) 2018, was approved by Parliament last October and has been signed into law this March by the President. The issues regarding these two Acts are interlinked and you can find the briefing on the PIA here.

While there remain significant issues to be clarified in the regulations, farmers’ rights and the role of FMSS are not addressed in current agriculture and seed policies. This requires a separate process, bringing together the diversity of stakeholders working across the agriculture, environment and conservation sectors, to ensure farmers’ rights, farmers’ seed, and farmers’ seed systems are adequately recognised, strengthened and supported.


Please see the links to both the seed briefing papers, as well as the press release below:



Press release South Africa¹s new seed and PVP Acts undermine farmers¹ rights and entrench corporate capture, control and domination


For further information, please see these previous ACB publications on this issue:

Parliamentary consultation & decision making on SA’s Corporate Seed Bills a Sham!!

Reflections on ITPGRFA, UPOV 1991 and South Africa

ACB's comments on the Plant Breeders Rights Bill

Concerns with the Revised Plant Breeders’ Rights Act