Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

La Via Campesina congratulates the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC): Equator Prize 2014

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_2014-10-06_UAWC_SB2.jpgLa Via Campesina congratulates its member, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC) for being among the 35 winners of the Equator Prize 2014, a UNDP initiative which seeks to shine a spotlight on outstanding local efforts to reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The benefits, besides prize money, include support to participate in events during the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit and the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in New York in September 2014.


One of the oldest non-profit organizations in the Palestinian Territories, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees supports Palestinian farmers to market their produce, develop agriculture and water resource protection programs, and restore and irrigate their lands. Agricultural extension services are used to train farmers in improved farming practices. The centerpiece of the initiative is a National Bank for Local Seeds, which dries, processes, stores, and documents local seeds with the vision of more organic, healthy and environmentally friendly produce. The seed bank currently has in its storage unit 270 entries from 36 agricultural products, belonging to 12 plant families. Families relying on dry-farmed crops have free access to seeds, with the understanding that double the amount be reinvested in the bank for other farmers once crops have been planted.

ARIPO’s Draft Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (“DRAFT Protocol”) Undermines Farmers’ Rights, Lacks Credibility & Legitimacy

Open letter to members of the international convention for the protection of new varieties of plants (UPOV)

Dear UPOV Members,

(9th April 2014) We the undersigned organizations from Africa and around the world are concerned with the conservation of agricultural biodiversity for livelihood security and food sovereignty, promoting farmers’ rights and citizen involvement in the decision-making process. The undersigned organizations would like to express serious concerns with the ARIPO Draft Protocol that has been submitted by ARIPO (African Regional Intellectual Property Organization) on 6 March 2014, for the consideration of the UPOV Council at its 31st Session in Geneva on 11 April 11, 2014.

Read more: ARIPO’s Draft Protocol for the Protection of...

NFU Proposes New Vision for Canadian Seed Ownership

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_biodiversity_NFUlogoscaled.jpg(January 20, 2014- Saskatoon, SK):  Bill C-18, the Agricultural Growth Act favours further consolidation of the seed industry into a few corporate hands, which will end up costing farmers more for seeds of all types.

“The government is selling the ag omnibus legislation as ‘the only way’ to provide the new plant varieties that farmers need to maintain their competitive advantage,” says Terry Boehm, Chair of the NFU’s Seed and Trade Committee. “We – and many other farmers and progressive thinkers in the world – know that there are other ways to ensure that farmers have access to new seed varieties in ways that do not compromise either our national sovereignty or our control over seeds and, therefore, over our food.”

The NFU has put forward Fundamental Principles for a Farmers’ Seed Act which recognizes the inherent rights of farmers to save, reuse, select, exchange and sell seeds, while protecting public domains related to plant seeds. The principles build on Canada’s 2002 signing of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, by which farmers would retain their “customary” use of seed.

Read more: NFU Proposes New Vision for Canadian Seed...

Canada : A Seed Act for Farmers, Not Corporations

NFU sign on letter :  Stop Bill C-18

Dear Friends,

Canada's government is preparing to pass a new law, Bill C-18, the Agricultural Growth Act, that would put Canadian farmers under the UPOV '91 Plant Breeders' Rights regime.  This new law would give global seed corporations vast new power to control seed - and to profit from it on the backs of farmers.

The National Farmers Union is working hard to stop this from happening.

You can help by signing on to the letter below in solidarity with the farmers of Canada.

Read more: Canada : A Seed Act for Farmers, Not Corporations

On April 17 We Defend our Seeds and Fight Against the Seed Industry

Why do we defend Peasant Seeds?

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_biodiversity_logoMiriam_enscaled.jpgThis year we dedicate the 17th of April, international day of peasant struggles, to the defense of seeds. Seeds are an essential basis for achieving food sovereignty because almost everything in agriculture depends on them: What we can plant and how it is grown; the quality and nutrition of our food, our ability to account for different tastes and cultural preferences; and also the wellbeing of our communities, our ecosystems and the planet. In this article we explain why this implies not so much the defense of seeds as such but especially the defense of peasant seeds—that is, seeds that remain in the hands of the peasant and family farmers of the world. We also give some examples of how we are carrying out this defense among the organizations in the 73 countries that make up La Vía Campesina.

Read more: On April 17 We Defend our Seeds and Fight...

International campaign to define Forests by their true meaning!

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_climatechange_reddscaled.JPG(26 March, 2014) La Via Campesina, Friends of the Earth International, Focus on the Global South, World Rainforest Movement and more than 120 organizations from around the world sent a letter to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO, in Rome, on the occasion of March 21st, the UN International Day of Forest. The letter demands that the FAO change its present definition of forests. During the coming three months, groups will also present the demand to national and regional FAO offices.

Read more: International campaign to define Forests by...

Farmers mobilize in Brussels: “Reclaiming peasants' rights over our own seeds”

Press Release - European Coordination Via Campesina

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_biodiversity_2014-01-20_mobseedfromEU_parliament.jpg(Brussels, 20 January 2014) At the start of the year devoted to family farming, which is being called on by the UN to feed the world, peasants from all over Europe are demonstrating before the European Parliament on Monday January 20 2014. We have come to reclaim recognition of peasants' rights to select, preserve, use, exchange and sell our own seeds. We declare that our seeds are essential if we are to feed the world. Only with our seeds can we overcome the challenge of discontinuing the use of toxic pesticides, protection of the environment and the struggle of adapting to climate change. Only peasant family farming helps to cool the planet.

Read more: Farmers mobilize in Brussels: “Reclaiming...

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