Biodiversity and Genetic Resources

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


(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  


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

b_350_0_16777215_00_images_2015-10-06-GuyTIRPAA.jpgMedia Release

(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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African civil society slams Monsanto junk GM maize deal

Press Release by:  African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity (TABIO), União Nacional de Camponeses (UNAC), Kenya Biodiversity Coalition (KBioC), Kenya Food Rights Alliance (KeFRA), Eastern and Southern African Small-Scale Farmers Forum Uganda (ESAFF, Uganda)

19 June 2015 Johannesburg, Dar es Salaam, Maputo, Nairobi, Kampala

Non-governmental and farmer organizations from South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique, Kenya and Uganda strongly condemn the go-ahead given by the South African GMO authorities for Monsanto to commercially sell its genetically modified (GM) “drought tolerant” maize seed for cultivation in South Africa. According to the groups, there is no evidence showing that the drought tolerant trait even works. According to Mariam Mayet of the ACB, “the GM maize (MON87460) has not undergone proper risk assessment anywhere in the world and has no history of safe use. South Africans who are already being force-fed with old risky GM traits will now be subject to an utterly new foreign, untested and risky transgene in their daily food.”

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Stop Seed Laws that Criminalise Farmers & Defend Local Seeds!

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Seeds are under attack everywhere. Under corporate pressure, laws in many countries increasingly put limitations on what farmers can do with their seeds and with the seeds they buy. Seed saving, a thousand-year-old old practice which forms the basis of farming, is fast becoming criminalised. What can we do about this?


Farmers’ fields are the first line of defense against bad seed laws. This means organising to rescue, collect, maintain, develop, share and use local farmer’s seeds. It is very important that women and young people are all involved. You can start a project with neighbours or local associations, talk to market or street vendors, get schools or you work place involved, etc. Seed fairs and visits to farms and gardens are an important part of this work.

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