10 June 2012. Civil Society expresses grave concern on African seed law regulation – Undermining farmers rights. A number of civil society statements and submissions expressed grave concern on seed regulation by African regional economic communities which is provoking the ire of civil society concerned about the potential impact of the protocol on small farmers, and the lack of consultation of farmers.
- SADC – Draft Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (Plant Breeders’ Rights) Civil society organisations from the SADC region, and around the world have condemned theSADC draft Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (Plant Breeders’ Rights) as spelling disaster for small farmers and food security in the region. They are calling for urgent consultations with farmers, farmer movements and civil society, conduction of an independent and participatory impact assessments to assess the impact, translation of farmers rights into national law as provided for in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), and rejection of UPOV 1991 / UPOV plus that further restrict farmers rights and exceptions to the breeder’s rights.
- COMESA – Seed trade harmonization regulations
Civil Society and small holder farmers express grave concern with process and content of the COMESA seed trade harmonization regulations are summarized addressing: 1. Flawed Process, 2. Farmers’ Rights, 3. Cost of Certified Seed, 4. Ownership of germplasm, 5. The burden of implementation of Regulations, 6. Creation of seed monopolies, 7. State Sovereignty,8. Lack of sufficient detail and clarity in legislation / Distinctness, Uniformity, Stability (DUS) Testing, 9. Value for Cultivation or Use (VCU) and Impact on agro-ecology, 10. Post variety release control, 11. Genetically Modified Organisms, 12. Strategic Food Security Crops.
- Tanzanian civil society statement on farmers’ rights
The failure to consult Tanzanian farmers on important issues affecting their rights, livelihoods and food security is unacceptable. The implications of acceding to UPOV 1991 are wide-ranging and far-reaching. Tanzanian farmers are largely smallholder and women farmers, who are dependent on the farmer-managed seed systems (informal seed sector) and the customary practices of freely saving, using, exchanging and selling farm-saved seeds and other propagating material. These systems allow farmers to limit the cost of production by preserving independence from the commercial seed sector while the unfettered exchange of seeds/propagating materials contributes to the development of crop diversity and locally appropriate seeds that are more resilient to climate change, pest and disease. Farmer-managed seed systems have therefore contributed greatly to conserving, improving and making available agricultural biodiversity, which is the basis of our food security.