Africa's Ancient Plant Diversity And Seed Independence Still Under Threat From Proposed New Laws

from the with-a-little-help-from-their-friends dept

Back in May 2013, we wrote about worrying attempts to create a harmonized system for controlling the sale of seeds in Africa that would increase the power of large suppliers such as Monsanto, at the expense of small farmers. A long and interesting article in Intellectual Property Watch indicates that those efforts are intensifying:
The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), with the help of the United States and an international plant variety organisation, is working to grow regional support for a controversial draft law. The draft protocol would boost protection for new plant varieties, despite concerns of local civil society that it would not be in the best interest of ARIPO members' food security due to its potential impact on small farmers. ARIPO held a regional workshop on the issue in recent weeks in part to build support for a treaty negotiation to lock in these protections.
There appears to have been an attempt to censor criticism at that workshop:
The event restricted the attendance of civil society, according to the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA). At the event, the group confirmed its fears about the impact of the adoption of the protocol on small farmers and food security. ARIPO, meanwhile, said it had not heard particular worries from farmers over time.
On its website, the AFSA explains its fears:
These national laws will enable the entry of foreign breeders and threaten the rights of small-scale farmers.
It also outlines plans to counter this move:
AFSA's goal over the next three years in this area will be: to build the capacity of AFSA members to influence regional and national seed legislation and policies towards protection of farmers’ rights in seed sovereignty. This will happen through and with the seed network that already exists. AFSA will help grow this into a continent-wide platform over the next three years.
That's a laudable goal, but the worry has to be that many new plant variety protection laws will have been passed by then -- doubtless with a little more help from the US on behalf of its Big Ag companies.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 2:06am

    An old, but fitting, Dilbert joke

    ARIPO, meanwhile, said it had not heard particular worries from farmers over time.

    Asked for further comment, ARIPO assure the reporter that 'They hadn't listened to a single complaint or concern regarding the proposed change to the law.'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 4:08am

      Re: An old, but fitting, Dilbert joke

      Can't hear any complaints over the sound the money in these nice coffers make.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 3:41am

    This is another attempt to use intellectual property to expand control over more that just the original property, and the gradual forcing of people into serfdom.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 5:05am

    The last thing many of the African nations need is restrictions on what food they can grow or to have to pay extra for some certain seeds.

    They need to tell the USA and monsenato to fuck the hell off!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 5:24am

    I'm generally supportive of GM crops but the IP maximalism associated with them is disgusting and dangerous

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 6:04am

    Why do they want to force Africa into their monoculture, it's not like Africa is a bunch of rich nations or anything. They are poor and have difficulty growing enough food as it is. Where would all this money for "special seeds" come from?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 6:33am

      Re:

      Welcome to world of progressive policies. The goal is to keep them poor, keep them dependent and thus keep them in control.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 6:57am

        Re: Re:

        I question your use of the term "progressive".

        In today's highly polarized political environment, use of such terms typically implies bias. In this case it would be an incorrect usage because most corporate policies and certainly that of monsanto, are far from what is commonly referred to as progressive.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          GeeC (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 7:13am

          Re: Re: Re:

          It is however common to those that claim to be progressive.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 7:45am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I haven't noticed that particular connection. Can you support your assertion?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              tqk (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 8:51am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Our progressive public education system has led to outlawing gun shaped pizza pops and "pew, pew" sounds. Five year olds are being forced to sign contracts unknown to their parents.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                John Fenderson (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 9:53am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                That has nothing to do with the "progressives" and everything to do with the litigious nature of our society.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  tqk (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 10:18am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I take it that you don't believe that progressives are leading the charge for gun control?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    John Fenderson (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 11:21am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Why would you think that?

                    But it's not relevant to the assertion that I'm making: that progressives are not any more inclined to support corporatism than anybody else.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Pragmatic, 25 Nov 2014 @ 5:07am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Google "Democrat Gun Owners." You'd be amazed to learn that many of them absolutely love the hell out of guns.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 6:26pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Oh, I get it. Shoving high priced seeds down the throats of poor nations is the same as draconian school boards treating students like prisoners. Makes perfect sense.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 3:12pm

      Re:

      I don't see Monsanto talking to small farmer who use native seeds because they can't afford chemicals. Monsanto wants to sell to the large British owned and local government official owed plantations. Monsanto needs IP protection in place before they can sell their high production seed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 4:05pm

        Re: Re:

        Monsanto needs IP protection in place before they can sell their high production seed.

        Monsanto needs IP protection in place before they can sue any farmer who allows any wind borne seed to grow on his land.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 6:30pm

        Re: Re:

        You need to read more diverse material on the topic.

        Monsanto does not talk to poor farmers, their lawyers do. They bring sue in order to lay claim to the poor farmer's land due to the inevitable monsanto caused contamination of the poor farmers crops.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        BernardoVerda (profile), 21 Nov 2014 @ 3:10pm

        Re: Re:

        No.... Monsanto talks to third world governments

        And then the government decrees that the peasants shall use Monsanto's wonderful new modern (and expensive) "technology" (GMO seeds that are "more productive" and resistant to Monsanto herbicides and insecticides) instead of the diverse range of locally adapted local varieties that are resistant to drought or flooding or more productive in local soils or other small scale local conditions).

        And then the government sends inspectors around to make sure the farmers are complying. So the farmers grow the expensive government mandated GMOs in the fields by the roads, which often do poorly because the conditions have been too wet/dry/hot/cool/whatever, and survive only because they've been secretly (and illegally) growing more reliable, better-adapted, wider variety of "old fashioned", traditional seed stocks away from where the inspectors are likely to go.

        Seriously -- that's how it actually goes.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 6:32am

    This article can't be true???

    There is no way this is really happening. The Dems would never be puppets for corporate America. That is the sole domain of the Repubs. The Dems are for the little guys like small farmers. Or are they?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 7:00am

      Re: This article can't be true???

      Rhetorical question. What's the point.

      Yes, political parties have many similarities ... and many differences. An elected official many times does not follow through on campaign promises .... ad infinitum.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 3:17pm

      Re: This article can't be true???

      Congrats, you just fell for one of the oldest political tricks in the book: 'It's all their fault'. Your 'I'm incredibly gullible' award is in the mail, please wait by your mailbox until it arrives.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 7:57am

    I don't understand why these laws are protecting the potentially unstable GMO organisms, instead of protecting the natural organisms that have been proven safe and stable through billions of years of evolution.

    This makes absolutely no sense, unless viewed through the lens of a patent maximalist. A patent maximalist sees GMO's as self replicating patents.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 8:07am

      Re:

      Not only self replicating, but self spreading to force more people to pay because of contaminated seed stocks.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 20 Nov 2014 @ 8:56am

        Re: Re:

        Not only self replicating, but self spreading to force more people to pay because of contaminated seed stocks.

        That is a very strange place to find the word "contaminated." They can completely avoid such contamination by not letting the contamination into the continent in the first place.

        But, where's the money in that?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2014 @ 12:05pm

    Monsanto is not sustainable , It's a corporation those close down on a daily basis , What is sustainable is nature , It's proven itself time and time again , always wins and outlives any and all competitors.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Claire, 20 Nov 2014 @ 12:27pm

    take the money...

    pass the laws...

    then don't spend anything, time, money or effort on enforcing them in any actual way?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Crossed Crocodiles, 21 Nov 2014 @ 11:57am

    ARIPO careful not to listen to farmers

    @1 funny - "ARIPO assure the reporter that 'They hadn't listened to a single complaint or concern regarding the proposed change to the law.'"
    ARIPO has been scrupulous in excluding farmers voices from their deliberations, very carefully not listening to farmers. They only listen to Big Ag and friends (Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dupont, Cargill, G8NA, USAID, etc.)

    @25 - Monsanto and friends want to deal with large plantations of pesticide plant monocultures. These require seizing land, kicking hundreds and thousands of farmers off their land and forcing them into city slums.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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