Workshop Looks At Intellectual Property of Namibia’s Genetic Resources

While there is no doubt that Namibia is rich in biodiversity, it is the identification of the potential value and protection as well as use of this biodiversity that is important.

This was part of the message of Joseph Iita, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, during the official opening of a workshop on national and international value of holding intellectual property rights that kicked off in the capital yesterday.

“I welcome you to this historic and very important workshop. I call this workshop historic because it is the first time in Namibia that major stakeholders have come together to brainstorm on the value and options for holding intellectual property rights with regard to plant and animal genetic resources for food and agriculture,” said Iita during his welcoming address.

The PS continued that the workshop, which was organized in collaboration with the Business Intellectual Property Agency (BIPA) was only the start of a process which will lead the way in considering ways to identify and assess the potential value of different intellectual property protection options for identified plants, livestock breeds and related products.

Iita stressed that the workshop is crucial for Namibia to be able to make informed and appropriate decisions regarding opportunities offered by various intellectual property rights options to protect, add value to and maximize the economic opportunities from its genetic resources for food and agriculture. “This will allow us to better determine how best the genetic resources and their intellectual property rights options can be used to enhance the contribution of our genetic resources to Namibia’s economy,” noted Iita.

He also stated that the one-day workshop should highlight the gaps hindering the implementation of intellectual property rights options, such as lack of expertise or the need for information or clearer procedures, policies and legislation.

According to Iita, certain questions need to be explored during the workshop in order to understand and extract the most value from the country’s genetic resources.

Source : New Era