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Our Mission

Bring awareness to the environmental crisis facing India, and its economic and social  impact on rural and farming communities

Promote and support solutions to rural hunger and poverty in India via sustainable organic farming and biodiversity conservation and to protect and preserve indigenous knowledge.





Our rich biodiversity and intellectual heritage are under attack: by means of intellectual property rights, private companies are expropriating our traditional knowledge and extracting profits from nature and communities and increasing rural poverty. Filing patents for products that are freely available to all leads to commoditization of the resource making it unaffordable to the rural farmer.   During the time that the Neem patent case was being pursued in court the price of neem seed went up from Rs300 a ton Rs3000-4000 a ton making it a significant cost burden to the poor farmers.

This is a strong call for action: both the Government and citizens should join hand in stopping the predation of nature by the hands of private and corporate actors and reclaim sovereignty over our intellectual property heritage.

Navdanya has already compiled and released “The epidemic of biopiracy” a list of 5000 biopiracy patents on medicinal plants and traditional knowledge of healing, and the list is continuously being updated, now reaching more than 9000 cases.

In terms of legal action, Navdanya has successfully reclaimed sovereignty over 3 traditional Indian plants:NEEM, BASMATI and NAP- HAL wheat.

Friends of Navdanya supports Navdanya's continuation of research and advocacy work, the monitoring of new piracy cases and contribute to the legal costs incurred in the battle against biopiracy (P.I.L)

Reclaiming Biodiversity and Intellectual Property Heritage


Programmatic Goal 


(Responsible party) 

Program Status

Current Program Needs

1. Protect traditional knowledge of farmers and agricultural workers in India

1.1 Eliminate biopiracy of indigenous Indian biodiversity

1.2  Reclaim sovereignty over intellectual property heritage associated with indigenous agricultural production

1.1.1 Identify and research patents that expropriate traditional and indigenous knowledge

1.1.2 Engage in public awareness raising of biopiracy efforts through publications, media, etc.

1.1.4 File legal opposition (public interest litigation) to patents and intellectual property claims threatening indigenous and traditional knowledge and agricultural practices and products in domestic and international venues


1.2.1   Advocate for redefinition of intellectual property rights regime to extend to communal or community rights of farmers and farming communities

1.2.2  Advocate for sovereign rights over domestic genetic resources and for diving recognition to local biodiversity in Indian communities

Compiled “Epidemic of Biopiracy,” listing 5000 biopiracy patents on medicinal plants and traditional Indian knowledge

Successfully reclaimed sovereignty over three traditional Indian plants through advocacy ad public litigation efforts:  neem, basmati, wheat

Organized Biya Panchayat to advocate against existing Intellectual property rights laws, i.e., Patent Act, Seed Act, Biodiversity Act

Conceptualized the idea of Common Property Rights in Knowledge

Legal research and litigation costs to challenge patents and intellectual property rights laws in domestic and international venues

Publication costs

Research and advocacy efforts on alternative system for intellectual property rights


Our Programs