The International Treaty of Seed – FAO refuses to collaborate in biopiracy: INRA and CIRAD must do the same!

The ITPGRFA (1) has decided to withdraw from its partnership with DivSeek, a consortium of agricultural research centers that organizes biopiracy at global level. This is the first victory of Via Campesina, which in 2014 denounced this planning of the flight of all the seeds of the world, before being supported in 2015 by many “southern” governments and NGOs.  

DivSeek was set up with money from the World Bank to carry out the genetic sequencing of all the seeds held in the genebanks of the various countries of the planet.

It then publishes these sequences accompanied by information on the characters of interest of the plants concerned. The seed industry then has only to recover this information to confiscate all the peasant seeds. It is enough for him to file patents on their genes and the particular characteristics to which they are linked. These genes existed long before the industry’s search engines could identify them, but the industry claims to have invented their discovery in order to patent them. 

The free access granted by DivSeek to this information is a blatant violation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the ITPGRFA. These international agreements prohibit patents that may restrict access to seeds from public genebanks. That is why the governments of the member countries of the ITPGRC have demanded that he withdraw from Divseek. 

But today, 66 agricultural research centers, mostly public, are still partners (2). Governments must put an end to this collaboration. The Peasant Confederation calls on the French government to demand the immediate withdrawal of INRA and CIRAD, who are still members of DivSeek. 


Africa Rice – Africa Rice Centre, Côte d’Ivoire
AAFC – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada
        ACPFG – Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics, Australia
        AIT – Austrian Institute of Technology, Austria
        ANU – Australian National University, Australia
        APPF – Australian Plant Phenomics Facility, Australia
        AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center, Taiwan
        BBSRC – Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, UK
        BECA – Biosciences Eastern and Central Africa, Kenya
        BGI – Beijing Genomics Institute, China
        Bioversity – Bioversity International, Italy
        BLE – Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (Bundesanstalt für
    Landwirtschaft und Ernährung), Germany
        CATIE – Center for Tropical Agriculture Research and Education (Centro
    Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza), Costa Rica
        CIAT – Centro Internacional de Agricultural Tropical, Columbia
        CFF – Crops for the Future, Malaysia
        CGIAR CO – CGIAR Consortium Office, France
        CIMMYT – International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (Centro
    Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo), Mexico
        CIP – International Potato Center (Centro Internacional de la Papa),
        CIRAD – Agricultural Research Centre for International Development
    (Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le
    Développement), France
        Clemson University, USA
        Cornell University, USA
        CRA – Agricultural Research Council (Consiglio per la Ricerca e la
    Sperimentazione in Agricoltura), Italy
        cROP – Common Reference Ontologies for Plant Biology, USA
        Cyverse, USA
        Dalhousie University, Canada
        Earlham Institute, UK
        EBI – European Bioinformatics Institute, UK
        EMBRAPA – Brazilian Corporation of Agricultural Research (Empresa
    Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária), Brazil
        ETH Zurich (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich), World Food
    System Center, Switzerland
        FZJ – Research Centre Julich (Forschungszentrum Jülich), Germany
        GCDT – Global Crop Diversity Trust, Germany
        Genome British Colombia, Canada
        Genome Canada, Canada
        Genome Prairie, Canada
        GPC – Global Plant Council, UK
        IAARD – Indonesian Agency for Agriculture Research and Development,
        IBBR-CNR – Institute of Biosciences and Bioresources – National
    Research Council (Institute of Biosciences and Bioresources – Consiglio
    Nazionale delle Ricerche), Italy
        ICARDA – International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry
    Areas, Syria
        ICBA – International Center for Biosaline Agriculture, UAE
        ICCI – Institute for Cereal Crops Improvement (Tel-Aviv University),
        ICRAF – World Agroforestry Centre, Kenya
        ICRISAT – International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid
    Tropics, India
        IITA – International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria
        INRA – National Institute for Agricultural Research (Institut National
    de la Recherche Agronomique), France
        IPK – Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research
    (Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung), Germany
        IRRI – International Rice Research Institute, Philippines
        ISU – Iowa State University, USA
        JHI – James Hutton Institute, UK
        KAUST – King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Center for
    Desert Agriculture, Saudi Arabia
        NIAB – National Institute of Agricultural Botany, UK
        NIAS – National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, Japan
        NIG – National Institute of Genetics, Japan
        NordGen – Nordic Genetic Resource Center (NordGen är en Institution
    under Nordiska Ministerrådet), Sweden
        QAAFI – Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation,
        Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, UK
        UBC – University of British Columbia, Canada
        UC Davis – University of California, Davis, USA
        UGA – University of Georgia, USA
        UMN – University of Minnesota, USA
        UM – University of Missouri, USA
        UNIBO – University of Bologna (Università di Bologna), Italy
        UNIVPM – Marche Polytechnic University (Universitá Politecnica delle
    Marche), Italy
        USASK – University of Saskatchewan, Canada
        USDA-ARS – United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural
    Research Service, USA
        VicDEPI – Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries,
        Wageningen UR  – Wageningen University and Research Centre, The


Guy Kastler, Seed Commission : 06 03 94 57 21

Laurent Pinatel, Spokesperson: 06 80 58 97 22

Elina Bouchet, Communication: 06 95 29 80 78

1 International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture