Citizens of the world, reclaim our seed!

Let us celebrate International Seed Day, not World Intellectual Property Day

#InternationalSeedDay

We are living in extraordinarily challenging times. The COVID-19 health crisis has fomented an economic crisis, and exposed the underlying risks, fragilities, and inequities in our food systems. It is essential for us to reclaim our seed diversity, biodiverse ecosystems and bio-cultural landscapes, that support nutritious local food systems and millions of livelihoods. In light of the pandemic, we demand the full protection and fulfillment of the rights of small-scale farmers and indigenous peoples across our planet.

On April 26th, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) celebrate the World Intellectual Property Day 2020 under the slogan “Innovate for a green future”.

We the undersigned organisations condemn this extremely one-sided view and are shocked by the unashamed green-washing, praising the plant variety protection system under UPOV and patents as a driver for a green future. The opposite is the case. Patents and UPOV based plant variety protection systems are rather a hindrance to innovation, especially innovation by farmers who have created agrobiodiversity, which is vital for the survival of all of us.

UPOV is part of the global architecture of intellectual property laws, alongside seed laws, that support and entrench current industrial food and monoculture agricultural systems. This system is based on the commodification of nature and knowledge, and severely undermines farmers’ rights and peasant farming systems, erodes biodiversity, and has caused great destruction to the earth’s life-supporting systems. Industrialised agricultural production and food supply chains have placed the future of the planet and humans at great risk, as we are now experiencing. Indeed, the COVID-19 outbreak points to the complex interactions between deforestation, reduced biological diversity, ecosystem destruction, and human health and safety, largely driven by the globalised agricultural and industrial corporate-controlled food system, of which UPOV is an intrinsic part.

We oppose the assertion that intellectual property rights over seed equates with facilitating innovation in plant breeding and “promotes resilient crops in support of global food security”. The system that the WIPO and UPOV is promoting instead impedes, undermines, restricts and devalues local innovation and traditional knowledge systems. Their model is particularly inappropriate for the farmers and indigenous peoples of the South, who depend largely on age-old systems of seed saving and exchanges. Indeed, it is farmers’ ingenuity and innovations that have fed the world, produced resilient crops and provided healthy and nutritious food, and continue to do so even in times of crises.

Agribusiness continues to mislead the global public, despite its role in having brought about the climate and ecological crises we find ourselves in, as illustrated by the intensities and frequencies of infectious diseases. Corporations must not be allowed to reinvent themselves, portraying themselves as saviors, when they have created the problem in the first place. Neither should they be rewarded with intellectual property rights that commodifies and monopolises seeds and undermines farmers’ rights.

Across the globe, poor and vulnerable communities severely impacted by the gross inequalities in the world, are scrambling to secure access to healthcare, medicine and food as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to infect and takes hundreds of thousands lives. At the same time, local food systems are being reorganised and restructured by social movements across the world, in the interests of people and planet. These movements are finding ways to link small producers to local communities, and to continue providing food even under difficult circumstances, offering a glimpse of what new and more resilient food systems may look like in the future.

This is an opportunity for us to reinvent our relationship with each other, the earth, and all that call this planet home. If ever there was a time needing our collective imagination and action, it is NOW. If there ever was a time demanding us to build on the innovations of local food producers around the world, it is NOW.

We call on every citizen, every nation, to celebrate and protect our common heritage, and to join together to demand a just transition into a life with and beyond COVID-19. Central to this is the immediate need to localise and democratise our food systems and the farmer seed systems that underpin them.

We honour those who have maintained and innovated agricultural biodiversity over the last 10 000 years, and continue to put diverse and healthy food on our tables. Biodiversity and cultural diversity are intricately linked, and are a result of generations of co-evolution.

On this day, we honour the indigenous peoples’, peasant and food sovereignty movements, and stand together urging us all to act and support a radical transformation of increasingly globalized and privatised food systems towards resilient agroecological systems based on seed and food sovereignty.

On this day, we celebrate the knowledge and practices of seed custodians, smallholder farmers, informal traders, landless peoples, farm workers, waste workers, care workers, and those that ensure all are able to feed and nourish themselves and their families.

On this day, we celebrate World International Seed Day,

NOT World Intellectual Property Day

#InternationalSeedDay

A Call to Action

This week, we call on you to contribute to building and safeguarding a world and life we want. We urgently need to create circular economies, ecologically-based agriculture, and localized food systems, that build resilience at all levels. This requires governments to redirect and institutionalise agricultural subsidies and research investments towards agroecology, and to invest in and support farmer seed systems and local supply chains. All seed and agriculture laws and policies must be reassessed and redrafted to support such food systems. Barriers to diversity must be removed, particularly those over agricultural genetic resources, and must not inhibit the full and free use and exchange of agricultural varieties and breeds amongst peasants, their communities or public breeders.

Another food system is possible! Together, we can resist an encroaching privatised seed system and celebrate agroecological production and localised food systems.

 

Organisations can sign on to endorse this statement by clicking here

 

We are the seed! plant a seed everyday, share photos, and tell us the story of the seed!

 #InternationalSeedDay not #WorldIPDay

 

"Seed is life, and nourishes many lives. Because seeds support life, no single person or group should claim ownership of them. Seeds should be freely accessed, so that they could be used, conserved, protected, and improved upon, especially by farmers.

Gilbert Manlapig, smallholder farmer, Philippines

Organisations can endorse this statement by clicking here

Endorsements

International

Association for Plant Breeding for the Benefit of Society (APBREBES)

Community Alliance for Global Justice (CAGJ)

ETC Group

Global Justice Now!

GRAIN

International Tree Foundation 

Jeunes Volontaires pour l’Environnement (JVE International)

Third World Network (TWN)

Thousand Currents (formerly IDEX)

World Neighbors

Regional

Alianza Biodiversidad

African Biodiversity Network (ABN)

Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA)

Association Ouest Africaine pour le Développement de la Pêche Artisanale (ADEPA)

Coalition pour la Protection du Patrimoine Génétique Africaine (COPAGEN)

Comité Ouest Africain de Semences Paysannes (COASP)

Comparing and Supporting Endogenous Development (COMPAS Africa)

Colectivo de Semillas de América Latina

Eastern and Southern Africa Pastoralist Network (ESAPN)

Eastern and Southern Africa Small Scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF)

Fahamu Africa

Faith & Justice Network of the Mano River Basin (FJN)

Farm-Saved Seeds Network (FASSNET)

Fellowship of Christian Councils and Churches in West Africa (FECCIWA)

Friends of the Earth Africa (FoEA)

Groundswell West Africa (GWA)

Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC)

Institut Africain pour le Développement Economique et Social (INADES-Formation)

Institut Panafricain pour la Citoyenneté, les Consommateurs et le Développement (CICODEV Africa)

La Via Campesina SEA

Network of Farmers’ and Agricultural Producers’ Organizations of West Africa (ROPPA)

North African Food Sovereignty Network (Africa)

Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Association

Pesticide Action Network Asia Pacific (PAN AP)

Plate-forme Régionale des Organisations Paysannes d’Afrique Centrale (PROPAC

Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE)

Trust for Community Outreach and Education (TCOE)

Union Africaine des Consommateurs (UAC)

We are the Solution (WAS)

La Via Campesina South Asia (Regional)

National

Acción Ecológica (Ecuador)

Acción por la Biodiversidad (Argentina)

African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) (South Africa)

Agro-eco Philippines (Philippines)

Anafae (Honduras) 

Anamuri (Chile)

Asociación de Agricultura Biodinámica (Chile)

Association of International Development And Research In Sustainability (IDRIS Association)(Malaysia)

Badan Bertindak Selamatkan Industri Padi dan Beras (Padi Rescue) (Malaysia)

Base-Is (Paraguay)

Biodiversity and Biosafety Coalition of Kenya (BIBA) (Kenya)

Biowatch South Africa (South Africa)

Cátedra Libre de Soberanía Alimentaria Río Cuarto (Argentina) 

Cátedra Libre de la Escuela de Nutrición de la UBA (Argentina)

Ceccam (México)

Cenami Centro Nacional de apoyo a Misiones Indígenas (México)

Coalición Nacional de Redes y Organizaciones Ambientales (Honduras) 

Colectivo Ecuador Libre de Transgénicos (Ecuador)

Colectiva K-Luumil X’ko’olelo’ob, Quintana Roo (México)

Colectivo por la Autonomía: Saberes Locales (México)

Colectivo Xa’aybej, Quintana Roo (México)

Comité de Derechos Humanos Sierra Norte de Veracruz (México)

ConCiencia Agroecológica 9 de Julio (Argentina)

Cooperativa de Trabajo Iriarte Verde LTDA (Argentina) 

Cooperativa Semilla Austral (Chile)

Desmi, Chiapas (México)

Espacio Estatal de Defensa del Maíz Nativo de Oaxaca (México)

Filipino Farmers Seed Network (Philippines)

Fédération Agroécologique du Bénin (FAEB) (Benin)

Federación Costarricense para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (Fecon) (Costa Rica)

Fundación Constituyente XXI (Chile)

Fundación Cullunche (Argentina)

Fundación Pro Defensa de la Naturaleza y sus Derechos (Ecuador)

Grupo de Etnobiología-FCEyN-UBA (Argentina) 

Grupo Semillas (Colombia)

Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) (Nigeria)

Indonesia for Global Justice-IGJ (Indonesia)

Instituto de Salud Socioambiental-Facultad de Ciencias Médicas-UNR (Argentina) 

Ka Kuxtal Much Meyaj AC, Campeche (México)

Malaysian Food Security and Sovereignty Forum (FKMM) (Malaysia)

Malaysian Paddy Farmers Solidarity Association (PeSAWAH) (Malaysia)

Misioneros AC, Yucatán (México)

Much Kanan l’inaj, Quintana Roo (México)

Museo del Hambre (Argentina) 

O GT Biodiversidade da Articulação Nacional de Agroecologia Assina (Brazil)

PAN India (India)

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) (Malaysia)

Pertubuhan Alam Sekitar Sejahtera Malaysia (GRASS) (Malaysia)

Pinag-isang Lakas ng Mga Samahan ng Casiguran, Aurora (PIGLASCA) (Malayisa)

Productores y Campesinos Agroecológicos del municipio de El Limón, Jalisco (México)

Red de Coordinación en Biodiversidad (Costa Rica)

Red en Defensa del Maíz (México)

Red de Guardianes de Semillas (Ecuador)

Red de Mujeres Rurales (Costa Rica)

Red Mayense Guardianes y Guardianas de Semillas (México)

Red Por una América Latina Libre de Transgénicos (RALLT)

Réseau Africain pour le Droit à l'Alimentation (RAPDA) (Togo)

Revista Crisis (Ecuador)

Seminario Interdisciplinario sobre el Derecho a la Alimentación Adecuada de la Facultad de Derecho de la UBA (Argentina) 

Sustainable Development Network (SUSDEN) (Malaysia)

Tanzanian Alliance for Biodiversity (TABIO) (Tanzania)

Uníon de Trabajadores de la Tierra (UTT) (Argentina) 

UPREZ Unión Popular Emiliano Zapata (México)

Unión de Organizaciones de la Sierra Juárez de Oaxaca, SC (México)

Zambia Alliance for Agroecology and Biodiversity (ZAAB) (Zambia)

Fresh Eyes, UK

Transnational Institute (TNI)

SOLdePaz.Pachakuti

Entrepueblos/Entrepobles/Entrepobos/Herriarte

ATTAC Argentina

La Asamblea Veracruzana de Iniciativas y Defensa Ambiental

Both ENDS

Growth Partners Africa

PLANT (Partners for the Land & Agricultural Needs of Traditional peoples

FoodmattersZimbabwe

Cooperative and Policy Alternative Centre

South African Food Sovereignty Campaign

ACTU

Regional Schools and Colleges Permaculture Programme ReSCOPE)

Earth And Man Farm

Nature Tropicale ONG

Grupo de trabajo Suiza Colombia/Swiss Working Group on Colombia

MRA

Greener world Alliance

Noetic Business Consulting

Navdanya International

Farmers network south Africa

Seed Savers Network, Kenya www.seedsaverskenya.org

Soils Food and Healthy Communities (SFHC)

Rural Women Assembly (Zambia)

MASIPAG (Philippines)

Bangladesh Agricultural Farm Labour Federation - BAFLF (Bangladesh)

Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform - MONLAR (Sri Lanka)

Lanka Farmer Forum - LFF (Sri Lanka)

Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee (Pakistan)

MAKAAM- Karnataka (India)

Sahayak Trust (India)

Women's Collective (India)

Women farmers Association (India)

Tamil Nadu Resource Team (India)

All India Union of Forest Working People (India)

Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (India)

Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha-KRRS (India)

Tamizhaga Vivasyigal Sangham - TVS (India)

SEEDS ACTION NETWORK - SAN Germany

Community Technology Development Trust (CTDT)

Freeflow

The Zambia Community Based Natural Resources Management Forum

University of South Africa

Scarborough Food Growers

Association Tunisienne des femmes Democrate/CNTMarche Mondiale des Femmes

 Tunisian Association of small Peasant for sustainable Developement

Frente de Lucha por la Soberanía Alimentaria Argentina

Kenya Small Scale Farmers Forum

PELUM Zambia

Witness Radio Uganda

The Seed And Knowledge Initiative

African Children Empowerment

Enda Pronat

Asociacion ANDES

Food Sovereignty Ghana

Matungu Community Development Charity (MCDC)

Fondation Nouvelle Création

Friends of the Earth Sweden

Public Eye

La Via Campesina Africa

 

Assemble de Defensores Mayan Muuch’ Xiinbal’ (Mexico)

Association Yelemani

Bina Desa (Indonesia)

Centre for Human Rights Research & Advocacy (CENTHRA) (Malaysia)

Collectif Citoyen pour l'Agro-Ecologie (CCAE Burkina)

Comité Ouest Africain des Semences Paysannes - Burkina (COASP Burkina)

Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP) (Malaysia)

Eastern Cape Water Caucus

International seedday

KONPHALINDO (Indonesia)

Kumpulan Organik Kelantan. (Malaysia)

Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG)

Maharashtra Prabodhan Seva Mandal (India)

Majlis Tindakan Ekonomi Melayu Bersatu Berhad( MTEM) (Malaysia)

National Women Farmers and Worker Association (Bangladesh)

Natural Farming Association Malaysia (NFAM) (Malaysia)

ORRISSA (India)

RAEBIA. TIMOR-LESTE

Red Nacional de Acción Ecologista (Renace) (Argentina)

Sacred Earth

SANWAD (Indi)

Solidaritas Perempuan (Indonesia)

South African Water Caucus

Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI)

SRI-Mas (Malaysia)

SWISSAID

Tamil Nadu Organic Farmers Federation (India)

The Gaia Foundation

Farmers' Seed Network (China)

SHISUK

HoneyBush Communications

Bread of Freedom

Querbeet Leipzig e.V.

Orsha Wholesome Foods

Eco-Impact

FENEV Femmes Environnement Nature Entrepreneuriat Vert / RDC

African Volunteers Association

AFRIKAGRUPPERNA

AgriBio Services

ASEED Europe

Aula Verde

Aula Verde A.C.

Bahay Kalipay

Bioleft

Bread for all

Casa Cultural Trude Sojka

Comunidad Indigena de san Francisco Pichataro, Mich. Mexico

Consejo Civil Mexicano para la Silvicultura Sostenible

Crystal Clear Farm

EAST AND SOUTHERN AFRICA FARMERS FORUM

ESAFF

ESAFF Eswatini

ESAFF Lesotho

ESAFF SouthAfrica

Fastenopfer

German Seed Savers Association (VEN)

German Umbrella Organisation for Crop and Breed Diversity

Global Catholic Climate Movement - Myanmar

Iberoamérica Social

MIZU ECO-CARE

Mwaloni Investment Ltd.

National Biodiversity Centre, Ministry of Agriculture and Frests

NIRMAN

OHANA

Okinawa millet producer's union

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth Malaysia)

Sarilaya Inc. (Kasarian-Kalayaan) & Trimona Multi Purpose Cooperative Inc.

Save Seeds Japan

Scientists for Global Responsibility

Simiente Disidente

The Malaysian Alliance of Civil Society Organisations in the UPR Process (MACSA)

Universidad Nacional Experimental de la Seguridad

Valerie Browning

 COASP-Mali (comité ouest africain des semences paysannes - Mali)

jardin d'oréda

Association pour le développement rural intégré, ADRI

Action pour le Développement Communautaire du Kwilu, ADCK asbl

Red Semillas Libres de Colombia

Association pour le Développement Intégré de Banda, ADRI/Banda

Semilla Nativa

Vicaria del Sur - Arquidiocesis de Florencia

Fundacion Amahia - Cultura y Comercio Justo

Fundación AGRECOL Andes

ECOLGREEN Agroecologia Urbana y Rural Sostenible

PROBIOMA

Red Manos Laboriosas de Colombia

Siembra

Grupo de semillas de Zapala

Círculo Argentino de Agroecología (CirAA)

Red Agroecológica del Austro.Ecuador

Corporación Compromiso

Regeneration International

Asociación Probivir

CORAMBIENTE

Asodiviso

Fundación Terra Nova

Justicia i Pau Barcelona

Organización Campesina Emiliano Zapata miembro de la Coordinadora Nacional Plan de Ayala (OCEZ-CNPA)

Fundación Semillas de Vida, A.C.

Asociacio de productores agroindustrisles municipio de sants barbara(asoapisanba)

CONTIOCAP – BOLIVIA

Red Chimpu Warmi

Centro de Comunicación y Desarrollo Andino Cochabamba, CENDA

Guardavidas Rosario

Promotor del inta Argentina

Nehuen Ñuque Mapu (fuerza de la madre tierra)simple Asociación

Grupo Derecho y Política Ambiental Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Vamos Por los Derechos

Movimiento Agroecologico de America Latina y el Caribe.

Regional Mexico Espora semillas

SOMOS Semilla Biblioteca Comunitaria de Semillas

Asociación de agricultura Biodinámica de Chile (ABDChile A.G)

Aula Ambiental Plaza De Mercado América

JAC Diana Turbay Vencedores

Escuela Agroecologica Reberde

Mulchén Consciente

CORPORACIÓN AMBIENTAL ANTIOQUIA VIVA

Elder lizcano

Sociedad Cooperativa de productores del Tianguis Orgánico Chapingo

Vimpervinca Alimentos Orgánicos, Naturales y Artesales Mexicanos

Instituto boliviano de investigacion forestal (IBIF)

Bullalayao rural improvement club

Movice Capítulo Madrid

AGROSOLIDARIA COLOMBIA

Enlace vital

Codeff

Colectivo Peñiwen

ANAPA

Red de Guardianas de Semillas de la Confluencia - Fecundando la Tierra libre

Anamaría castellanos

ASOCIACION MUNICIPAL DE USUARIOS CAMPESINOS - ANUC – PIEDECUESTA

Centro Crecer

INA WAKAN

Mongui Amasijos de la mona

Aso8

La Marraqueta

Asociación Red Mis Maravillosos Años Dorados del Adulto Mayor

Asociación Atucsara

Día del maíz en la ENTS-UNAM

Agua nómada ong

RedBioCol

CRIM UNAM

Casa cisne

CIMAS

Agua para Tod@s Agua para la Vida

USC

Ecoaldea Bello Amanecer

Pueblos en Camino, Abya Yala.

Agua y Vida: Mujeres, Derechos y Ambiente

Amar Es Más ONG

Graciela C. Barboza

Cooperativa de Servicios Multiples Municipios Unidos R.L

COLECTIVO DE DEFENSORAS Y DEFENSORES DE ANIMALES DEL QUINDIO

Red de semillas del Sur de Santander

ECOHUMUS SAS

Asociacion municipal de mujeres Campesinas de Gámbita, Santander- ASOMURCGAM

Jeunes Volontaires pour l'Environnement

RefugioTikabamba Escuela de Permacultura

Coop ltada de elect. de S. M. Sierras

Ecofeminisarte

Santuario del jaguar

Humus de lombriz

Fundación compartiendo caminos de paz

MNCI SOMOS TIERRA (Argentina)

Asociación campesina por la reparación y la paz del corregimiento la Habana

Wilka wayra

Todos somos San Gil

Club Rotario San Gil

Andres Gomez

Marcahuasi Casa del Protector

Colectivo Errante

GIA-Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Corporación TERRAINNOVA Territorios de innovación social

Finca El Silencio, Resguardo de Vida Silvestre y TerraViva

Asociacion Agroecologia y Fe

federation Lougouzena

Colectivo de Reservas Campesinas y Comunitarias de Santander

Organización Social y Política Tierra Libre

Nido de Aguilas

Asociacion manos Huchuyqosqo

CEPAL ONG

Comunidad y Sustentabilidad el Mexquite AC