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Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

New publication - Seed laws that criminalise farmers: resistance and fightback

La Via Campesina | GRAIN

Media release - 8 April 2015

For immediate release

Seed laws booklet EN COVER.jpgPeasant seeds – the pillar of food production – are under attack everywhere. Under corporate pressure, laws in many countries increasingly limit what farmers can do with their seeds. Seed saving, which has been the basis of farming for thousands of years, is quickly being criminalised.

What can we do? A new booklet and poster from La Via Campesina and GRAIN documents how big business and governments are moving to stop farmers from saving and exchanging their seeds, and shows how farmers are fighting back.

Control over seeds must remain in peasants' hands. This is the principle, based in the production process, that guarantees the food sovereignty of rural communities and urban populations against multinationals and their enormous profits. Over centuries, peasant farmers have created the thousands of varieties of crops that are the basis of the world's food supply and diversified diets, says La Via Campesina's Guy Kastler.

But for corporations who want to impose laws that will give them complete control of land, farming, food and the profits that could be made from this sector, these time-tested practices around seeds are an obstacle.

Read more: New publication - Seed laws that criminalise...

European Commission carries on with the eradication of agricultural biodiversity

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_Paysanne_2014_EU.jpegPress Release

The European Commission carries on with the eradication of agricultural biodiversity.

Aiguillon, 16th December 2014.

The European Commission announced today to the European Parliament its decision to withdraw the reform concerning the regulation of the seed market (or Plant Reproductive Material law). In doing so, the European Commission closes down the few openings proposed by the previous Commission which aimed at stopping the current and dreadful erosion of agricultural biodiversity. The right of farmers to exchange their seeds, the right for small enterprises (with a turnover of less than 2 million Euros) to commercialize all the available biodiversity without having to register it in the catalogue, and also the opening of the catalogue to seeds that are less standardized, synonymous of less standardized food : all those openings are shelved.

Read more: European Commission carries on with the...

International Solidarity Campaign Statement

AGAINST GMOs which Destroy Biodiversity and Rob Peasants of their Rights! ENSURE Peasants’ Right to Save Indigenous Seeds and Maintain Food Safety!

20141002_162325.jpg(Pyeongchang, Korea, October 2, 2014) MOP-7 (the 7th Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety) is being held in Pyeongchang from September 29th to October 3rd. We are here to address the government delegations of all of the countries, on behalf of the peoples of the world.

We are against GMOs, as they only benefit a few corporations and capitalist interests!

GMO seeds only exist to benefit a few corporations. GMOs were invented solely as profit-making products. It is claimed that GMOs are the result of scientific hybridization technology that has been developed in order to solve the food and climate crises. However, these assertions are not true. GMOs destroy biodiversity and people’s livelihoods. Moreover, transnational corporations try to gain a monopoly over seeds by means of intellectual property rights and patents. However, it is the hands of peasants that have nurtured seeds, and it is the right of peasants to have access to seeds and control over their use.

Read more: International Solidarity Campaign Statement

We Condemn the Rural Development Administration which Promotes GM Crop Development

 Korean Women Peasants Association- Press Release

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_20141001-Press_Conference_2.JPG(Pyeongchang, Korea, October 1, 2014) The CBD COP MOP7 (the 7th Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety), which started on September 29th, is being held here in Pyeongchang, Korea. Right in front of the conference venue, there is an exhibit of GM fluorescent silkworms that have been developed by the Rural Development Administration. These GM fluorescent silkworms, the subject of a Rural Development Administration study in 2011, were created from the eggs of silkworms into which genes from South American jellyfish were injected; these genes give rise to fluorescence green silk thread. As the Rural Administration has a plan to diversify the colors of silkworms, the GM green fluorescent silkworms are just a beginning. Last February, the GM Commercialization Team organized by the Rural Development Administration held a discussion meeting on how to apply agricultural biotechnology. When describing the national and international situations with regard to GM crop commercialization, they made ludicrous remarks, echoing those of GM developers in the US, such as “GMOs mean less pesticides”, and “The US would not have grown GM crops if there were any danger to the environment from GM crops”. There was a great deal of criticism from farmers' organizations and civil society organizations. At the very moment that we are speaking, there is ongoing GM development in Korea, and the volume of imports of GMOs for research and study is growing.

We, women peasants from all over the country, have gathered here in Pyeongchang, to raise our voice in opposition to GMOs and to support the struggles of the farmers who are preserving indigenous seeds.

Read more: We Condemn the Rural Development Administration...

Farmers reiterate rejection to transgenic seeds

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_15223362367_15c5ec301b_z.jpg(Mozambique, Maputo, October 1, 2014) Farmers’ representatives of the National Union of Farmers (UNAC) reiterated their rejection of genetically modified seeds which present a number of disadvantages. According to the participants of the III International Conference of Farmers, hybrid seeds which are circulating in Mozambique have shown inefficiency primarily because farmers are forced to buy new seeds every season.

These remarks were made in response to the two interventions by the government officials, particularly those from the National Directorate of Agrarian Services and the Ministry of Science and Technology, who talked about an effort from the government of Mozambique to adopt strategies against climate change.

Read more: Farmers reiterate rejection to transgenic seeds

Open Letter to the Secretary of ITPGRFA on Farmers' Rights

18thSeptember 2014

Dr. Shakeel Bhatti

Secretary

International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA)

cc. Francis Gurry, Director General of WIPO, Secretary-General of UPOV

cc. Member States of ITPGRFA

Dear Dr. Bhatti,

We the undersigned organizations from around the world are keen to see full implementation of Farmers Rights. The Preamble of the Treaty and Article 9 on Farmers’ Rights, recognizes the contribution that local and indigenous communities and farmers of all regions of the world have made and will continue to make for the conservation and development of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA). It also explicitly recognizes that Treaty Members have the responsibility of realizing farmers’ rights. This includes the right to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed/propagating material; the right to participate in decision making on matters related to the conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA; the right to participate in the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from, the use of plant genetic resources as well as protection of traditional knowledge relevant to PGRFA. The treaty acknowledges that these elements are fundamental to the realization of Farmers’ Rights and the promotion of Farmers’ Rights at national and international levels.[1] 

Read more: Open Letter to the Secretary of ITPGRFA on...

Mayan People’s Movement Defeats Monsanto Law in Guatemala

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_0-1-0-gmonsanto3.jpg(Guatemala, September 15, 2014) - On September 4th, after ten days of widespread street protests against the biotech giant Monsanto’s expansion into Guatemalan territory, groups of indigenous people joined by social movements, trade unions and farmer and women’s organizations won a victory when congress finally repealed the legislation that had been approved in June.

The demonstrations were concentrated outside the Congress and Constitutional Court in Guatemala City during more than a week, and coincided with several Mayan communities and organizations defending food sovereignty through court injunctions in order to stop the Congress and the President, Otto Perez Molina, from letting the new law on protection of plant varieties, known as the “Monsanto Law”, take effect.

On September 2, the Mayan communities of Sololá, a mountainous region 125 kilometers west from the capital, took to the streets and blocked several main roads. At this time a list of how individual congressmen had voted on the approval of the legislation in June was circulating.

Read more: Mayan People’s Movement Defeats Monsanto Law in...

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