Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

Major Farmer Unions of India Reject GM Mustard

Ask Javadekar not to allow GEAC to proceed with its Secret Meeting to process GM Mustard Application on Feb.5th

(New Delhi, February 3rd, 2016) All major farmer unions of India, in a joint statement, have slammed the Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change for allowing the regulatory body for transgenics to meet on February 5th to decide on the fate of GM mustard. They demanded that the secret meeting of the regulator be cancelled immediately by the Minister. “All major mustard growing states in India, including BJP-ruled states, heeding to citizens’ voices and scientific advice, have come out against GM mustard.  They have also expressed concern about the secretive processes adopted by the regulators and for not putting out biosafety data in the public domain. The Supreme Court has issued notices to the Centre’s regulators on a contempt petition. Despite all of this, Prakash Javadekar is allowing Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) to hold its meeting to process the GM mustard application on Friday (Feb.5th). It makes us wonder what and wherefrom is the need and pressure emerging from”, they said. They objected to the secretive manner in which the government is proceeding on this matter, without public scrutiny of data or any public consultations including with farmers’ unions, despite the GMO being created ostensibly for farmers’ benefit.

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Patents on life: Stop stealing native seeds and farm animals!

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MEPs will gather in Strasbourg to debate on a resolution on the patentability of seeds this Thursday, December 17th. The European Parliament must react to the emotion created by the decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office who confirmed last March 25th the patentability of plants obtained by means of natural processes  such as crossing or selection1. Indeed, the judge is obliged to apply the law, good or bad, only the Parliament can change it.

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Seme ta Resistance – Sow your resistance

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2015-10-28-LWA.jpg(UK, October 28, 2015) From 24th – 26th September, 250 delegates – including 2 from The Landworkers’ Alliance – from over 20 countries in 4 continents gathered in the south of France for a conference organised by the French Peasant Seed network, Reseau Semences Paysanne.

RSP was started in 2000 at the time that the first crop of GM maize was grown in France and as peasant farmers were losing their legal rights to grow and sell their non-industrial seeds. RSP was launched because they faced a situation where peasant farmers and citizens needed to organise themselves effectively or face losing their seeds, and the country face losing access to non-industrial, unpoisoned food. 15 years later, 80 organisations are working under the RSP umbrella and they are achieving a great deal.

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The Seed Treaty Undermined by the Gangrene of Biopiracy

La Via Campesina Press Release

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(Harare, October 15, 2015) After a week of arduous debates at the FAO headquarters in Rome, on the 9th of October, The Governing Body of the International Seed Treaty (1) in its sixth session had to choose between plague and cholera: to accept as fait accompli its irregular "governance arrangements”, to say the least, or to sink into an open crisis. 

To prevent immediate burst, it has declared valid:

  • The commitment of its secretariat to the DivSeek program that organizes biopiracy at a global level. DivSeek’s aim is to sequence the genomes of all varieties stored in gene banks. This program is working towards is the electronic publication of genetic information on seeds entrusted to the gene banks for which the Treaty is responsible without including any prohibition to patent nor to share benefits, thus violating the rules of the Treaty.

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Peasants’ rights belong to peasants! Don’t take a single one away!

Final Statement of La Via Campesina during the Sixth Session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome, October 9th,  2015  

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Thank you Mr. Chair. Ladies and Gentlemen,

30 years ago, in this very same room, civil society already suggested the debate on farmers’ rights to the FAO. Now, 30 years have gone by; an entire generation. Finally, the Treaty was approved but in reality, its implementation is still incomplete.

Together with many farmers' seed networks from across the world, La Via Campesina has warned about the risk of abuses created by the collaboration between the Secretariat and Divseek regarding the access to plant genetic resources and Farmers' Rights. The time has come to reiterate our warning: it must not be allowed that the violations of the principles and rules of governance of the Treaty lead to its destruction. Now, it seems that the Treaty is becoming a “gigabyte treaty” which does not defend farmers’ rights, in situ conservation, nor peasant seeds.

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Via Campesina and other social movements in Rome to warn against threat of new patents

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(Rome, October 5, 2015) La Via Campesina and other social movements came to Rome from 5-9 October for the Sixth Session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (IT-PGRFA) to warn the Governing Body against the threat of new patents on native seeds. The Seed Treaty is the only international agreement that clearly recognizes the right of farmers to save, use, exchange and sell their seeds. The Member States of the Treaty have the responsibility of realizing farmers’ rights, but so far nothing has been done. Until now, the Treaty has not been able to guarantee the promised sharing of benefits. The industry, which has been using our seeds for breeding, has never paid anything. Quite to the contrary, more than 10 years after it entered into force, we have seen a shift towards the patenting of our native seeds’ genes, thereby turning the Treaty into a tool of biopiracy, serving industry’s interests.

This is why LVC decided to share its concern with the Governing Body of the Treaty by presenting the statement signed together with many other peasants’ seed networks around the globe. You will find the full text of the statement here 

Contact in Rome

Ivan Mammana 0039 3407801399 (ES-EN-FR-IT)

You are destroying the Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources

To member governments of the governing body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources (IT PGRFA), Meeting in Rome 5-9 October 2015

2015-09-26-Seeds Treaty.jpgWe want to tell you that you are in the process of destroying the treaty. It is organising the theft of our seeds and our knowledge. We can no longer continue to give them to researchers and other prospectors that come and collect them in our fields, to then put them in the Treaty’s gene banks. As long as you do not ban all bio-pirated patents, as long as farmers do not have a right to keep, use, exchange and sell seeds from their own harvests then we will not collaborate with research and gene banks that serve the multinational seed companies.

The grains kept in genetic resource banks run by the multilateral system of the Treaty on Plants (IT PGRFA) belong to us: they are our inheritance from many centuries of peasant selection, and they have been collected in our fields.

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