IPRS, SEEDS & FARMERS’ RIGHTS Clare Westwood PAN AP WHY SEEDS? • History – Green Revolution. Purposes. Suppress pesant movement. Open up markets for corporate agricultural inputs. • Chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, • High input/yielding varieties. Subsidies • Hybrid seeds. GE seeds. • Farmer-saved seeds (FSS) an Obstacle • Aim: seed producers seed users/consumers COLLUSION • • • • SEED COMPANIES GOVERNMENT INTERNATIONAL AGENCIES SEED ASSOCIATIONS FACTS • 2005: Seed market worth USD17 billion • Monsanto top seed company • Top 5 agri-TNCs control 30% of the global seed market HOW TO CONTROL? • LAW – Regulations – Restrictions – Certification – Registration INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS (control price and what/how to save, use, share) - Methods / Processes - Genes - “new” plant varieties INTERNATIONAL LAWS/COERCION • AOA – TRIPS (Ag on Trade Related Aspects of IPRs) – UPOV (Intnl Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants) – ITPGRFA (Seed Treaty) – TRIPS PLUS • WTO, WB, USAID, ADB, FAO – CGIAR IRRI UPOV • Article 14 extends protection to all plant varieties, vegetative / reproductive propogating material and essential derived varieties & harvested material. • Under UPOV-type systems, farmers cannot save, exchange, or sell seeds of protected plant varieties. NATIONAL SEED LAWS • Korea – Govt. may restrict breeder’s rts to a variety if farmer collects seeds for himself for self-production • Malaysia – farmers can only use seeds of a PVP on their own field in ‘reasonable amount’ • Indonesia – Farmers may use PVPs as long as not for commercial purposes • Pakistan / India /Philippines – Farmers can use/sell seed produce but cannot sell seed of the protected variety for commercial purposes FUTURE TRENDS • TIGHTER LAWS. GREATER INVOLVEMENT OF PRIVATE PLAYERS REPLACING / COMPLEMENTING GOVT. IN CERTIFICATION & TESTING. Growing collusion bet. private and public sectors. • FTAS New Trade Laws. Seed laws reflect seed trade. • Climate and Food Crisis – used to promote GE seeds & zombie seeds TRENDS (cont.) • Asia – growing market for US & European seed companies. Forays into China India, Phil, Thailand, Taiwan • DUS seeds – increasing loss of genetic diversity • Greater violation of farmers’ rights’; harassment, legal oppression, etc. EXAMPLES • 609 patents on rice in 2007 mainly by rice breeders in the US, Europe & Japan. 60% private owners. • Syngenta claims to have ‘invented’ >30,000 genetic sequences of rice • Indonesian farmers arrested for breeding their own corn seeds • Percy Schmeiser’s case - Canada FAO • Role of the FAO – IRRI (under CGIAR) – FAO in Afghanistan: Implemented a Variety & Seed Industry Development Project in Afghanistan with EU funding. Prescribed new seed law. Farmers cannot commercialize production from proprietary varieties. – 2nd World Seed Conference co-organized with seed industry in Rome in Sept 2009 – call for more formal plant breeding and IPR regulation • CGIAR – IRRI. Private-public partnerships. Facilitating giving away of germplasm.