Seed Laws

Against the odds, smallholder farmers maintain agricultural biodiversity in South Africa

This report is a result of research conducted in partnership with Tshintsha Amakhaya, Farmer Support Group, TCOE Zingisa and Surplus People Project. The report investigates the state of farmer-managed seed systems in rural South Africa.

Through 3 case studies in Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, the report highlights both the fragility and perseverance of smallholder farmers, who continue to maintain agricultural biodiversity and traditional knowledge, in the face of increasing pressure from all sides. Smallholder farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to make end meet in an agricultural sector dominated by large-scale commercial production and corporate value chains.

Multinational corporations dominate seed provision in South Africa, further driving a commercial and industrial Green Revolution agenda. Farmer-managed seed systems, and the diversity of crops and diets that rely on them, are marginalised and neglected in the process.
The research is one step in highlighting the threats and opportunities facing smallholders and biodiversity in an increasingly harsh production environment. ACB will continue working with our partners and smallholder farmers to support and promote sustainable farming practices and farmer-managed seed systems as part of our broader objectives to transform seed and food systems in South Africa.

Download full report in PDF format

Standing up for farmer-saved seeds, agrobiodiversity and seed sovereignty! ACB commenting on revised seed laws in South Africa

ACB submitted comments on the Plant Breeders’ Rights and Plant Improvement Bills, to the Select Committee on Land and Mineral Resources on the 24th January 2017.

These bills restrict the saving, trading, exchanging, and sale of seed. This can have massive ramifications on seed and food sovereignty, agricultural biodiversity, access to diverse seed, and increasing the disparities and inequalities in South African agriculture, food and nutrition.

ACB will continue to engage in this process to ensure that South African seed laws take into account farmer-managed seed systems, agrobiodiversity, and maintain farmer’s rights to save, reuse, exchange, and sell seed.

We invite interested parties to join this conversation, to fight for our right to seed.

 

Download the ACB Comments on the PBR Bill in pdf

Download the ACB Comments on the PIA Bill in pdf

Comments on the revised draft regulations (draft 3) for implementing the Arusha Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants

Further comments on the revised regulations (draft 3) for the implementation of ARIPO’s Arusha Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, that will be submitted for adoption in December 2016. This paper focuses on some of the most problematic aspects that needs to be rectified by ARIPO Member States as these perpetuate impingement of national sovereignty; fail to safeguard Farmers’ Rights and farmer seed systems; and to prevent biopiracy. These comments have been produced without prejudice to our very strong opposition to the Arusha PVP Protocol and our consistent position that it represents an inappropriate regional legal framework for the ARIPO region, wherein 13 out of the 19 member states are least developed countries (LDCs) and under no legal obligation to implement plant variety protection (PVP) regimes.

Download the Document in PDF

ACB comments on revised Draft Regulations (Draft 2) for Implementing the Arusha Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants

The revised regulations for the implementation of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation’s (ARIPO’s) Arusha Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants continues to perpetuate the impingement of national sovereignty, fails to safeguard farmers’ rights and farmer seed systems and to provide safeguards against biopiracy. These comments, submitted to ARIPO, raise concerns and offer alternative proposals.

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Related information

AFSA Press Release: ARIPO PVP Regulations: Ferocious Campaign against Seed Saving Farmers in Africa and State Sovereignty, Monday, June 13, 2016

ACB Preliminary comments on Draft Regulations Implementing the Arusha Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants…

ACB Preliminary comments on Draft Regulations Implementing the Arusha Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants

Draft Regulations for the implementation of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation’s (ARIPO’s) Arusha Protocol for the Protection of New Plant Varieties (Arusha Protocol), were considered for adoption in June 2016. The proposed regulations included provisions designed to intimidate and force seed processors, seed suppliers, government certification officers and even farmers’ organisations to police and spy on farmers who use farm-saved protected seed. These comments strongly object to many aspects of the regulations and offer alternative proposals aimed at safeguarding national sovereignty as well as farmers’ rights.

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Related information

AFSA Press Release: ARIPO PVP Regulations: Ferocious Campaign against Seed Saving Farmers in Africa and State Sovereignty, Monday, June 13, 2016

ACB comments on revised Draft Regulations (Draft 2) for Implementing the Arusha Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants

 

Integration of small-scale farmers into formal seed production in South Africa

The scoping report looks at key policies, legislation and programmes in SA with an emphasis on seed laws and considers the implications for small- scale farmer involvement in this sector and outlines a few projects on community seed production, indigenous crops and black- owned private sector seed production efforts.

Download the Scoping Report

Changing Seed and Plant Variety Protection Laws in Tanzania – Implications for Farmer-Managed Seed Systems and Smallholder Farmers

Seed legislation is under review in Tanzania with a view to changing this in order to further expand the role of the private sector in the commercial seed sector. This law reform is mainly targeted at the seed marketing laws (Seed Act of 2003 and its regulations of 2007) and revision of its Plant Breeder’s Rights legislation. This research report discusses Tanzania’s recent reform of its Plant Breeders’ Rights Act 2012, the country joining of UPOV 1991 and the influence of various seed harmonization initiatives and its implications for the disregarded small- holder farmer managed seed system that dominates agriculture production in the country.


Download Summary (pdf) report in English 1,3Mb
Download Summary report in Kiswahil 1,4Mbi
Download Full report in English 1,7Mb

Open letter to UPOV and FAO on the new intellectual property and seed laws in Africa, Asia and Latin America

The African Centre for Biodiversity, the Network for a GE Free Latin America and JINUKUN – COPAGEN, on behalf of the organizers of a South – South dialogue on intellectual property (IP) and seed laws, want to bring to your attention the declaration that resulted from the Dialogue. This Dialogue was attended by several organizations and networks of farmers working on rural development, environment and agro-ecology issues from Latin America, Asia and Africa met in Durban – South Africa between 27 and 29 November 2015.

English Letter
French  Letter
Spanish Letter

Declaration on Plant Variety Protection and Seed Laws from the South-South Dialogue

We, participants at the South-South Dialogue, are members of peasant and civil society organisations and concerned individuals from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe working on issues of food and seed sovereignty, peasants’ control of seed production and exchange, and biodiversity. We gathered in Durban, South Africa 27-29 November 2015 to share information and knowledge, and to come to a common understanding on seed and plant variety protection (PVP) policy and laws and strategies for resistance and alternatives in the global South.

English Report
Portuguese Report
Spanish Report
French Report

We are working in our countries and regions to advance the ongoing global struggle for socially just and ecologically sustainable societies, in which farming households and communities have control and decision-making power over the production and distribution of food and seed.

Human societies and the seeds we use to produce the food that sustains us have grown symbiotically over millennia. Seeds emerged from nature and have been diversified, conserved, nurtured and enhanced through processes of human experimentation, discovery and innovation throughout this time. Seeds have been improved by means of traditional and cultural knowledge transmitted from generation to generation. Seeds are therefore the collective

The expansion of the commercial seed sector in sub-Saharan Africa: Major players, key issues and trends

Sub Saharan Africa’s seed systems are undergoing a profound transition, with the private sector leading the way. This report outlines some of the major trends and activities of the major players involved in this, from Monsanto and DuPont Pioneer to the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the broader donor community.

Download English Report
Clique aqui para a versão em português
Version Française
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