Published online by Cambridge University Press: 25 September 2007
In 2005 the government of Ethiopia prepared many proclamations, regulations and guidelines dealing with biosafety, traditional knowledge and plant breeders' rights, with a view to implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Cartagena Protocol to the CBD on Biosafety (CPB), and to joining the World Trade Organization. In the course of the lengthy negotiations of the Food and Agriculture Organization International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the Ethiopian government decided not to include coffee in the list, annexed to the treaty, of plants covered by the multilateral system of facilitated germplasm flows. The purpose of this paper is to analyse these texts and the potential bargaining power of Ethiopia regarding coffee germplasm transactions, after a rapid description of the general context of seed production and seed markets in Ethiopia. It concludes that policies aimed at improving germplasm and final product quality, and rewarding farmers for their contribution in this process, are paramount.