Convention on Biological Diversity: Farmers Demand an End to the Commercialization of Biodiveristy, GM Seeds and Synthetic Biology
- Published on Thursday, 11 October 2012 12:29
La Via Campesina - Press release
(Hyderabad, 11 October 2012) As the worlds leaders gather in Hyderabad, India to discuss how to stop rapidly depleting biodiversity at the 11th Conference of Parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity(CBD), La Via Campesina (LVC), the global peasants movement, asserts that instead of protecting biodiversity, the CBD discussions are progressively degenerating to allow rapid privatization and commercialization of biodiversity. The attempt is to take biodiverisity out of the hands of the farmers, fishers, indigenous people who nurture and protect it, and let it go into the hands of profiteering corporations who seek to control it for commercial ends.
CBD is also discussing risky, untested and undebated technologies such as new kinds of synthetic biology, GM crops and geoengineering. “They attempt to create life that does not exist in nature, or promote very large projects like ocean fertilization to sequester carbon in the oceans having a impact marine life. There is no institution to oversee such bizarre developments and we cant predict the risks. These techno fixes will not solve our environmental problems. They will only make it worse”, said Marciano Toledo, La Via Campesina member from Brazil.
- Published on Thursday, 06 September 2012 13:32
The seed industry has quickly consolidated. The U.S. Department of Justice announced in August 2009 that it would investigate alleged anticompetitive conduct in the seed industry largely because a few dominant firms now control much of the seed supply.
Ten companies account for about two-thirds (65 percent) of the world’s proprietary seed – that is, branded varieties subject to intellectual property protections – for major crops. Economists say that an industry has lost its competitive character when the concentration ratio of the top four firms is 40 percent or higher. In seeds, the top four firms account for 50 percent of the proprietary market alone and 43 percent of the commercial market , which includes both proprietary and public varieties. This level of concentration has proven problematic, reducing choice and increasing prices for the average American farmer. Several factors have contributed to concentration in the seed industry...
- Published on Saturday, 09 June 2012 01:02
Social organisation Vía Campesina Brazil said today that the partial veto of the Forestry Code by Dilma Rousseff is insufficient. Yet they still declared the decision represents a defeat for the big landowners and haciendas.
The member of Via Campesina Brazil, Luis Zareff, said that the vetos are a defeat for “the most backward landowners who expected complete and total amnesty” for their past wrongdoings.
Zareff stated that Rousseff’s decision “does not meet the requirements for healthy food production or environmental conservation.
The activist said Rousseff’s veto is a consolidation of what he calls the ‘agri-business’ represented by the Confederation of Agriculture of Brazil.
According to the analysis of Vía Campesina Brazil, the presence of coalition government and the tense relations between Rousseff and Congress put the president in a difficult opposition to make a full vote on the Forestry Code.
- Published on Friday, 01 June 2012 06:46
Recently the head of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research was reported as saying that it is seeking to collaborate with MNCs, by offering its massive seed gene bank in exchange for “expertise” from private companies to develop a variety of high-yielding, climate-tolerant seeds that could be used in India and elsewhere in return for “a small share of the profits”.
Indian farmers under the banner of ICCFM (Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements) are indignant at this preposterous idea which is firstly illegal under Indian biodiversity laws. Secondly, to imagine private corporations as some benevolent entities working towards creating magic seeds to protect the world from climate change is totally misplaced – the real aim here is to access genes that have been developed by farmers over centuries – then to patent them and to then resell them to farmers in the name of climate tolerance, raking in profits while increasing farmers dependence. This is exactly what happened with Bt Cotton where most local cotton varieties have now been wiped out at a grave human and environmental cost and farmers left with little choice making the cotton growing belts of India the highest farmers suicide areas. Bt Brinjal was also developed by Monsanto after stealing local brinjal varieties. Monsanto is now rightfully being sued for bio-piracy by the Indian National Biodiversity Board.