"The importance of plant genetic resources and the need to conserve and sustainably utilize them has been the subject of many regional and international discussions in the last two and a half decades. The thrust of these discussions has centered not only on the modalities of ensuring that these resources are utilized in a sustainable manner but also the need to reward those who have helped nurture and made them available to successive generations. The adoption of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture represents an international consensus that the protection and promotion of farmers’ rights is one way through which countries can achieve the above objectives. This paper makes four major proposals. First, the need to scale up debate and dialogue among the different stakeholders on the need for and modalities of protecting and promoting farmers’rights. Secondly, the need for countries in the region to effectively participate in ongoing regional and international policy and decision making processes having a bearing on farmers’ rights. Thirdly, the need for vigorous sensitization of the masses about issues of farmers’ rights and the development of appropriate legal expertise and lastly, the need to invest in further analytical research on the issues and challenges involved in the effective realization of farmers’ rights."