Peasants from all over the world are pressured by the international market to certify their seeds. The Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development (OCDE), a group from developed countries with headquarters in France, is one example formed by industries, consumers, and farmers responsible for granting certification of seeds. The certification testifies that the seed produces a quality plant based on the rules specified by the organization. In this way, the seed earns a quality seal before it is put on sale, creating a “certification” of quality.
"The certification was created only to facilitate the work of the multinationals. For the small producer, it signifies dependence", states Camila Montecinos, a Chilean activist with the Center on Education and Technology (CET). For her, the certification of seeds serves only the interests of industry. The activist also questions the example of the OCDE, which grants a seal to products and creates rules for quality to regulate the process. "Despite the consumers and farmers participating in the OCDE, it is industry that directly influences its resolutions, that creates rules without any basis in international laws", she analyzes.
In this sense, one of the main markets damaged by certification is the organic market. In the European Union, there is a law that requires organic farmers to label their products. Argentina, one of the large producers of organic beef, produces meat on around 3 million hectares, without any inputs per year. Even then, the Argentineans also have ceded to the international demand for the certification of food.
According to Paul Nicholson, of the international coordinating body of La Via Campesina, farmers, faced with the pressure of the corporations and the international market, end up certifying their products in an attempt to preserve the organic properties of their industries.
However, he analyzes that the decision facilitates even more the process of commodification and domination of the market of seeds by the multinationals. "Various multinationals today, as in the case of Syngenta, also certify organic food. We are just one step away from the domination of these agricultural products by the large corporations".
As understood by the various groups and social movements, the decision to certify food products or not opens up a more profound discussion: about the commodification and privatization of natural resources.
"Certifying a tomato seed that I have at home, I am saying that it is my property. However nature is public, it belongs to humanity, and not to a physical or legal person", says Paul Nicholson.
He points out also that the peasants should not be influenced by the capitalist thinking of the corporations that view natural resources as a commodity to be bought and sold. "The goal of the multinationals is to map all the biodiversity in the world and patent it to make money”. We have to prevent this from happening", he states. "Seeds do not belong to the peasants, they belong to all of society", Camila adds.