Plant Breeders' Rights, also known as plant variety protection, are a form of sui generis system of intellectual property rights designed specifically to protect new varieties of plants. Plant Breeders' Rights offers legal protection to plant breeders for the investment they make in breeding and developing new varieties of plants.
Tanzania is a United Republic made up of the former Tanganyika (mainland) and (offshore) Zanzibar. However, no unified Plant Breeders' Rights Law has been enacted. Presently, Tanzania – Mainland has a Plant Breeders' Rights Law (2002) which came into force on the 2nd February 2004. Zanzibar has no Plant Breeders' Rights Law.
Patrick S.N.Ngwediagi, the Registrar of Plant Breeders' Rights, Tanzania Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperatives, has advised us that the Tanzanian Government is busy reviewing a new Plant Breeders' Rights Law which will be UPOV compliant. This proposed new Plant Breeders' Rights Bill was published in the Official Gazette on 23rd March 2012 and was read for the first time by Parliament on 23rd April, 2012. However, until it is approved by Parliament in the next sitting and assented to by the President, the current Plant Breeders' Rights Law (2002) prevails. Zanzibar is currently contemplating introducing a similar Plant Breeders' Rights Law to that of the Mainland which is expected to come into force in the near future.
The Plant Breeders' Rights Law (2002) provides for the granting of rights in respect of varieties of various prescribed kinds of plants. Almost all plant species are prescribed in the list available in the Plant Breeders Rights Regulations. Plant Breeders' Rights continue to be a powerful tool for large multinationals, smaller nurseries and individual plant breeders, enabling them to secure a piece of the market for their novel varieties for a significant number of years.
Tanzania is not a member of UPOV Convention but the Tanzanian Government through a Resolution made by the Parliament of the United Republic of Tanzania in 2010 decided to accede to the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention.