Agribusiness in the Philippines: Protecting New Plant Varieties

MC900449051Underpinned by goverment’s support, the agriculture sector is rapidly growing and modernizing in the Philippines. This offers lucrative business opportunities for European agribusinesses as their technology becomes in high demand. However, IPR violations like counterfeiting are still a major problem in the Philippines and thus European SMEs need to have a robust IPR protection strategy in place when planning to do business in the Philippines. Today’s blog post is taking a look at the new plant varieties protection, something that is of utmost importance to agribusinesses engaged in breeding plants. SMEs will learn what they can do to protect their new plant varieties in the Philippines and how to enforce their rights in case of an infringement. 

The agricultural sector is a major part of the Philippines economy: it makes up around 11% of GDP and employs about a third of the country’s workforce. The Philippines is home to a wide variety of indigenous agricultural products and constitutes a fertile environment that can host a diverse range of plant varieties. There also exists a large a gap in the application of innovative farming practices and the use of new specialised plant varieties, partly highlighted by the Philippines joining the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) which is now driving producers to adopt new practices to compete with imports and achieve profitable exports. Furthermore, the Philippines Agribusiness Strategy aims at transforming and upgrading the agriculture sector from traditional farming to agribusiness or industrial clusters to take advantage of opportunities in rubber, coconut, mangoes, bananas, coffee, palm oil, cacao, and other emerging high value crops[1].

Although, the Philippines is more popularly known for the production of regional tropical fruit (it is the world’s largest producer of both coconuts and pineapples), the Philippines has historically played a significant role in agricultural innovations. The International Rice Research Institute is based in Los Baños, Laguna, and took a prominent role in the development of new high-yield rice varieties during the Green Revolution, with the country now standing as the eighth largest producer in the world[2]. However, in recent years private enterprise has increasingly been the source of innovation and accordingly the need for adequate protection of innovations has been a growing concern. Continue reading “Agribusiness in the Philippines: Protecting New Plant Varieties” »