Friday, September 18, 2009

Seedy business

"Between the heavy acronyms and technical terms used by the UN figures, government officials and industry representatives, the conference illustrated two clear themes; firstly, the desire of Northern-based business to continue a process of enclosure of key farming inputs such as seeds by way of technology. Secondly, a push by these same companies (supported by the US and EU countries) for an extension and tightening of intellectual property rights on plant genetic resources into the national law of poorer countries.

Under the guise of innovation and progress, breeding companies suggest that seed varieties developed in laboratories in the North and then sold to poorer farmers in the South can raise yields in crops, increase nutritional values, reduce pesticide and fossil fuels use as well as conserve biodiversity. In the words of one participant at the conference, his company utilised ‘the art and science of changing the genetics of plants for the benefit of humankind.’" (Thanks Daniel)

This is a very good article by R. Willoughby. He reviews the situation and offers alternative paradigms, based on civil sociaty and community groups. Unfortunately, I do not really think that civil society is up to it, especially if lured by money from compacts with the private sector, promoted by international organizations.

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