Peasant Seeds: Dignity, Culture and Life. Farmers in Resistance to Defend their Right to Peasant Seeds
- Published on Wednesday, 16 March 2011 09:12
LA VIA CAMPESINA - BALI SEED DECLARATION
Farmers throughout the world are the victims of a war for control over seeds. Our agricultural systems are threatened by industries that seek to control our seeds by all available means. The outcome of this war will determine the future of humanity, as all of us depend on seeds for our daily food.
One actor in this war is the seed industry that uses genetic engineering, hybrid technologies and agrochemicals. Its aim is the ownership of seeds as a source of increased profits. They do this by forcing farmers to consume its seeds and become dependent on them. The other actor is peasants and family farmers who preserve and reproduce seeds within living, local, peasant and indigenous seed systems, seeds that are the heritage of our peoples, cared for and reproduced by men and women peasants. They are a treasure that we farmers generously place at the service of humanity.
Industry has invented many ways of stealing our seeds in order to manipulate them, mark them with property titles, and thereby force us, the farming peoples of the world, to buy new seeds from them every year, instead of saving and selecting them from our harvest to plant the following year. The industry’s methods include genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and hybrid seeds, which cannot be reproduced by farmers, as well as industrial property over seeds, including patents and plant variety certificates, all of which are imposed through international treaties and national laws. These are but different forms of theft, as all industrial seeds are the product of thousands of years of selection and breeding by our peoples. It is thanks to us, peasants and farmers, that humanity has at hand the great diversity of crops that, together with animal breeding, feeds the world today.
- Published on Tuesday, 15 March 2011 16:11
La Vía Campesina— Media Advisory
Nusa Dua, Bali 15 March 2011
One of the most important reasons for Via Campesina’s participation in the UN Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is the implementation of Farmers’ Rights. According to the Treaty, the 127 signatory states must protect farmers’ rights to save, use, exchange, sell and protect farm-saved seeds; they must encourage their participation in decisions related to seed conservation; states must also protect farmers’ traditional knowledge.
However, since 2004, when the Treaty came into force, it has done nothing to enforce these rights. Instead it has prioritized facilitating seed industry access to public seed collections. The Seed Treaty is the only treaty contemplating Farmers’ Rights, but member states do not respect these laws, contrary to their respect of industrial property rights. National and international seed laws privatize seeds through patents or plant variety protection, thereby denying Farmers’ Rights. We emphasize that the Treaty must place these Rights at the highest level, and that they must be guaranteed in every one of the countries that have ratified it.
La Via Campesina’s Message to the Seed Treaty: Farmers in Resistance to Defend their Right to Peasant Seeds
- Published on Monday, 14 March 2011 16:34
Press Release - La Via Campesina
From 14-18 March 2011, La Via Campesina delegates from Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, France, Indonesia, India, Mexico, Madagascar, and South Korea are participating in the Fourth Regular Session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, also known as the Seed Treaty. We are here to present the voice of peasant seed producers around the world.
The Treaty has accomplished most of its mission to facilitate the industry’s access to seeds. But to date it has not implemented Farmers’ Rights and only proposes an illusory financing through ‘benefit sharing’, a fund made up from the proceeds of patents issuing from genetic resources facilitated by the Treaty. However we refuse this ‘benefit sharing’, as we do not recognize the industry’s continued theft and privatization of our seeds.
- Published on Monday, 14 March 2011 12:03
We want to thank the Secretary. I am an Indonesian peasant. You cannot hear my voice, because I’m speaking in my own language. This is my interpreter. It’s unfortunate that the Treaty does not have the means to respect the language spoken in the country in which it meets.
I am speaking on behalf of Via Campesina and the entire group of Civil Society Organizations.
At the second meeting of the Governing Body, civil society organizations suggested that it might be more realistic to suspend the treaty than to continue to work without adequate resources. At the third meeting we remained optimistic and pressed for a program that assumed that governments who ratified the treaty would take the responsibility to make it work. Now, we expect them to do this.