Thursday, September 26, 2013


Seeds.  Strange things, these seeds.  They look like, well, seeds, and then one day they are plants.  Seems simple and natural, but capital never leaves well enough alone.  Global Capital and the Empire are always on the hunt for more accumulation and more profits, and more ways to exploit the multitudes. As La Via Campesina warned back on March of 2011, 

 Our agricultural systems are threatened by industries that seek to control our seeds by all available means. The outcome of this war will determine the future of humanity, as all of us depend on seeds for our daily food.

Of course.

Capital has turned seeds into just another commodity, added patents, genetic engineering and privatized, or is trying to privatize the whole damn thing.

Again from March of 2011,

In their drive to build monopolies and steal our natural wealth, corporations and the governments who serve them place at risk all of humanity’s food and agriculture. A handful of genetically uniform varieties replace thousands of local varieties, eroding the genetic diversity that sustains our food system. Faced with climate change, diversity is a strength, and uniformity a weakness. Commercial seeds drastically reduce the capacity of humanity to face and adapt to climate change. This is why we maintain that peasant agriculture and its peasant seeds contribute to the cooling of the planet.

...hybrid and genetically modified seeds require enormous quantities of pesticides, chemical fertilizers and water, driving up production costs and damaging the environment. Such seeds are also more susceptible to droughts, plant diseases and pest attacks, and have already caused hundreds of thousands of cases of crop failures and have left devastated household economies in their wake. The industry has bred seeds that cannot be cultivated without harmful chemicals. They have also been bred to be harvested using large machinery and are kept alive artificially to withstand transport. But the industry has ignored a very important aspect of this breeding: our health. The result is industrial seeds that grow fast have lost nutritional value and are full of chemicals. They cause numerous allergies and chronic illnesses, and contaminate the soil, water and air that we breathe.

Let us not be mistaken. We are faced with a war for control over seeds. And our common future depends on its outcome. It is through this lens that we must analyze the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), in order to understand what is at stake and what positions we should take.

I don't really know a whole lot of the ins and outs of all this, and because I've spent the day, the week, fooling around with messed up email accounts, I lack the time for the kind of basic research I usually do.  So, I am pretty much sticking with La Via Campesina to explain it all...including the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture:

...we must situate the Treaty in its historical context of constant attempts to steal our seeds. The industry and most governments are using the Treaty to legitimate the industry’s access to those peasant seeds that are stored in collections around the world. The Treaty recognizes and legitimizes industrial property over seeds, thus creating the required conditions for theft and monopoly control. In the Treaty, the florid language used to describe Farmers’ Rights entrusts individual states with the responsibility for their implementation. However, states do not apply them. Therefore the mentioning of these rights is only an attempt to inoculate the Treaty against our possible protests and denunciations.

The result is a treaty that legitimates the World Trade Organization (WTO) and laws on industrial property rights. It is therefore legally binding with respect to industrial property rights and the rights of plant breeders, while allowing states not to respect Farmers’ Rights. It is a contradictory and ambiguous treaty, which in the final analysis comes down on the side of theft.

Basically, it sounds to me like the  strategic plan of Global Capital in general...which " the final analysis comes down on the side of theft."

The following is, of course, from La Via Campesina, but this week. 

What we learn is that the fight continues and the multitudes aren't just sitting back willing to take this crap...

The seed treaty must no longer allow the stealing of seeds from peasants

Press release of La Via Campesina

(Oman, 24 September 2013). This week, from 24 to 28 September, witnesses the opening in Oman of the Fifth Session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, also known as the seed treaty. The treaty was ratified to facilitate access for all to seed diversity. However, the hopes raised on the occasion of its adoption in 2001 have been dashed and have led only to failure.

Actually the treaty has allowed the seed industry to draw freely and without charge from the huge wealth of seeds accumulated through centuries of selection by peasants and to lock up this wealth in private collections. At the same time, public collections that are accessible to all are disappearing one after the other, and the fundamental right of peasants and small-scale farmers to access, use, exchange and sell their own seeds is being criminalized. If men and women farmers and peasants can no longer save and select their own seeds, their systems of production will lose their capacity to adapt to climate change. It is not only biodiversity but the food security of the entire planet that is at risk.

Under pressure from free trade agreements, seed laws only recognize the proprietary titles, patents and plant variety certificates which the industry has filed in order to take control of all cultivated plants. Peasants and small-scale farmers in Colombia, Thailand, East Africa, Chile and Europe are experiencing this at the very moment. These men and women only have access to industry seeds which they must buy every year and which require for their cultivation an arsenal of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and other poisons, all of which affect their health and that of consumers. They are obligated to fight to assert their right of access to traditional seeds.

Victories are still possible, as shown by recent examples in Chile and Colombia, where the mobilization and determination of peasants and family farmers has forced a retreat on the part of governments. According to Eberto Diaz of the International Coordinating Committee of La Via Campesina: “The freezing of decree 970 in Colombia is a victory, admittedly partial, but also an important step for the entire social movement in Colombia. The government has recognized that it is peasants and family farmers who feed us every day. This law was an attack on peasant farming.”

In the opinion of La Via Campesina the Treaty must acknowledge its own failure and stop giving multinationals, free of charge, seeds taken from the fields of peasants and small-scale farmers. The governments that make up the Governing Body of the Treaty must in every country allow and/or continue to allow these peasants and farmers to lawfully use, exchange and sell their own seeds. This is what we have come to demand from governments through our participation in this meeting of the Treaty. These rights are the most basic condition for the conservation and renewal of the plant genetic resources required for our food. Our future depends on it and this is why La Via Campesina called its latest publication on seeds La Via Campesina: Our Seeds, Our Future. It shows how the daily struggle for seeds begins in the fields. It is high time for the Treaty to take this into account.

For more information:
Eberto Diaz (spanish) : + 57-31 03 01 75 34.
Guy Kastler (french): +33 6 03 94 57 21 and
Miriam Boyer (english, spanish): +49 16 37 41 17 77 and

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