Taking Control of our Destinies
Saving and Spreading Our Native Seeds
Our ability to survive as human beings depends upon our capacity to ensure an enduring food and water supply. This may seem obvious, however there is no guarantee that many people are thinking about it. However, the corporate agribusiness sector certainly is – and we need to make sure that they are thwarted in their desire to take ownership of the global gene pool and thereby to wrest absolute control over the food chain.
Two International ‘Seed Action’ days are to take place on 17-18 April 2011. In Brussels, thousands of seed activists will meet to swap their seeds and to press European deputies to establish an enquiry into whether laws permitting the private control and alteration of seeds violates the fundamental human right to food and access to seeds. They will demonstrate unwillingness to accept that our livelihood is handed over to multinationals like Monsanto, Cargill, Bayer, Dupont, Pionneer, Syngenta and BASF.
In Poland ICPPC will be launching a national “Seeds for All” awareness raising initiative on the same dates as the Brussles event. We will be encouraging farmers and gardeners to mark this day with their own demands that multi national corporations keep their hands off the indigenous landraces of Poland and that government supports the small farmer instead of cow towing to agribusiness lobby groups. There will be sessions of common traditional seed sowing with local farmers; seed swapping; promoting the establishment of local seed banks and starting vegetable plots at schools and kindergartens.
April 17th has been declared “International Peasant Resistance Day” by Via Campesina, the international peasant support body. They will also be co-organising a demonstration in Brussels on April 18th.
You too can do your bit to save and support the propagation of our native seeds: what would a future be like when all our food and plant life is simply a laboratory modified clone of the real thing?
The power of transnational corporations operating in the seeds and chemical market has grown rapidly over the past three decades. Now the ten largest seed companies own 67% of the world market. Via genetic modification, patenting and the introduction of seed reproduction fees these companies are exerting a dangerous stranglehold on the genetic diversity of our planet. Smaller enterprises have been bought out and the diversity of the seeds we need to maintain a healthy diet and a biodiverse countryside has gone with them.
Now, at the eleventh hour, a swelling grass roots movement is taking action to protect and expand the native seed base of Europe and beyond. Under the title “Sowing the Future – Harvesting Diversity” thousands of people throughout Europe are actively demanding that the right to produce seeds remains in the hands of small farmers and gardeners. A diversity of crops has nourished mankind for thousands of years. Seeds that we have inherited from past generations are the basis of life both now and in the future, and are essential for food sovereignty.
We know from the 400 scientists who helped compile the “International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, Technology and Development” (IAASTD) report (2007) that “Peasant farming makes the greatest contribution to feeding the world.”
The EU Commission turned against this knowledge in 2008 via a revision of the seeds legislation which the Commission then brought into force in 2010. Under the heading “Better Regulation” it has introduced draconian bureaucratic regulations to greatly restrict the variety of native seeds eligible for commercial production. The signs are that they will now attempt to prohibit the circulation of all non-registered varieties. This is intended to prevent alternative non hybrid seeds competing on the corporate dominated hybrid seed market place. The big seed companies also want low levels of GM contamination not to be declared on labels.
Increasingly even non-GM seed varieties are succumbing to patenting: the anti shrivel tomato, anti carcinogen broccoli and high sugar melon for example. The seed companies are also lobbying Brussles to allow them to carry out all the necessary seed controls themselves. A disaster is knocking on the door – don’t open it.
A wide variety of native seeds are essential for food sovereignty. Any new seed laws should protect this vital heritage. We must demand, in the strongest possible terms, the unimpeded ability to access any and all varieties of native seeds and an end to the corporate theft and privatisation of life forms.
Its up to us.. why not launch your own “Seeds for All” actions for April 17/18 April – wherever you reside! Never imagine that someone else will do the work for you..
In unity and solidarity,
Julian and Jadwiga