The Arusha Protocol on Plant Varieties “the Protocol” was adopted by a Diplomatic Conference of ARIPO at Arusha, Tanzania on 6 July 2015. Its Implementing Regulations were adopted by the ARIPO Administrative Council at Lilongwe Malawi on 22 November 2017. The purpose of the Protocol is to grant and protect plant breeders’ rights regionally. Plant breeders’ rights are a form of intellectual property granted to the breeder of a new plant variety. Plant variety protection involves the protection of breeders’ rights and applies to all plant genera and species.

In terms of Article 40 (3) of the Protocol, the Protocol will come into effect twelve months after four states have deposited their instruments of accession. On 24 November 2023, the Republic of Ghana deposited its instruments of accession to the Protocol with the Director General of ARIPO. Ghana becomes the fourth state to accede to the Protocol. Ghana joins Sao Tome and Principe, Cape Verde and Rwanda which are also signatories to the Protocol.

The coming into effect of the Protocol on 24 November 2024 is a very welcome development for plant breeders who wish to seek regional protection for their new varieties. It presents an opportunity for protection of new varieties in four states through a single application filed in ARIPO.