Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa warns ARIPO over drift to UPOV 91

"Farmers’ Groups Warn ARIPO About Implementing UPOV 91 In Africa" is the title of a piece posted by Catherine Saez to Intellectual Property Watch, here, today. In brief:
A collective civil society group has raised concerns about a draft Africa Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) plant variety protection law, which is based on the 1991 version of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). The draft law, which may come up for adoption in November, would criminalise farmers’ rights and undermine the seed systems in Africa, they said.

The group is the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, which includes networks and farmers’ organisations working in Africa, such as the African Biodiversity network, the Coalition for the Protection of African Genetic Heritage, Friends of the Earth Africa, La Via Campesina Africa, Community Knowledge Systems, and the Network of Farmers’ and Agricultural Producers’ Organisations of West Africa.

In their 18 October statement, ... the groups say they are “gravely concerned” about the draft law ... As part of an effort to harmonise seed laws in Africa, the regional legal framework is “designed to facilitate the transformation of African agriculture from peasant-based to inherently inequitable, dated and unsustainable Green Revolution/industrial agriculture,” they said.

It is also designed to push African countries into joining UPOV 1991, they added. The new framework would “make it illegal for farmers to engage in their age-old practice of freely using, sharing and selling seeds/propagating material; a practice that underpins 90% of the smallholder agriculture systems in sub-Saharan Africa.”... ”
More on the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa here.

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