Tag Archive: Green Revolution

G8 “Hunger Summit” initiative rejected by African civil society – Corporate takeover of agriculture & land will increase hunger, groups claim

At the heart of the leading initiatives to ?modernise? African agriculture is a drive to open markets and create space for multinationals to secure profits. Green revolution technologies ? and the legal and institutional changes being introduced to support them ? will benefit a few at the expense of the majority.

As world leaders gather at the high profile ?Hunger Summit? in London this week to endorse the spate of on-going initiatives to ?modernise? African agriculture, 57 farmer and civil society organisations from 37 countries across the continent have slammed these efforts as ?a new wave of colonialism?. Harmonisation, free trade and the creation of institutions and infrastructure to facilitate multinational companies’ penetration into Africa are presented as the answer to food insecurity on the continent. These large multinational seed, fertiliser and agrochemical companies are setting the agenda for the G8?s “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa”, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and the implementation of the African Union?s Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP).

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African farm analysts demand answers from UK over DfID funding Is the UK setting up a poverty trap for African farmers?

The Africa Centre for Biosafety (ACB), supported by Food & Water Europe and the Gaia Foundation, today wrote to UK Ministers for International Development, Business and Environment asking for evidence for the basis of UK overseas aid policy.*

ACB recently published a searing critique of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (known as AGRA, supported by agribusiness multinationals and the Gates Foundation). The study finds the scheme is ultimately not about developing lasting solutions to hunger, but imposing a cash economy on African agriculture that will inevitably result in farmers becoming dependent on the multinational corporations profiting from the hardship that will follow.

AGRA effectively seeks to institutionalise biopiracy by accessing publicly available genetic resources, patenting or imposing other intellectual property rights on the resulting seeds, and then using these industrial monoculture crops to channel African farmers into focusing on earning enough export cash to buy the privatised seed. The AGRA model uses free inputs to develop monopoly control over outputs and expects farmers to pay for seeds they previously shared and traded, and played a major part in developing over thousands of years.

AGRA?s model creates the foundation for the expansion of biotechnology and synthetic agricultural inputs,

Harmonisation of Africa?s seed laws: death knell for African seed systems

The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has released its new report titled, ?Harmonisation of Africa?s seed laws: a recipe for disaster- Players, motives and dynamics. The report shows how African governments are being co-opted into harmonising seed laws relating to border control measures, phytosanitary control, variety release systems, certification standards and intellectual property rights, to the detriment of African small-holder farmers and their seed systems.

According to Mariam Mayet of the ACB, ?The effect of these efforts, which are being pushed through African regional trading blocs such as COMESA and SADC[1] include:

  • facilitating the unlawful appropriation and privatization of African germplasm;
  • providing extremely strong intellectual property protection for commercial seed breeders and severely restricting the rights of farmers to freely use, exchange and sell farm-saved seeds;
  • facilitating the creation of regional seed markets where the only types of seed on offer to small scale farmers are commercially protected varieties; and
  • threatening farmer- managed seed systems and markets.?

The report shows that harmonized intellectual property rights (plant variety protection-?PVP?) over seeds are all based on the 1991 Act of the International Union of the Protection of Plant Varieties (UPOV 1991). UPOV 1991 was developed by industrialized countries more than

Harmonisation of Africa?s seeds laws: a recipe for disaster

The core of the paper is focused on the pressures being exerted on African governments to adopt the 1991 Act of the International Union for the Protection of Plant Varieties (UPOV), particularly through regional harmonisation of plant variety protection (PVP) policies and laws. We also discuss the adverse impacts PVP laws will have on the exercise of farmers? rights in Africa, and concomitantly, on agricultural biodiversity, food security, livelihoods, knowledge systems and culture.

Seeds are the very basis of human society and have been for all of human history. Until very recently, farming and seed breeding were undertaken by farmers on their own land, season after season. However, we are now witnessing the separation of these two interdependent activities, with seed breeding increasingly being privatised and farmers becoming increasingly dependent on seed varieties made available to them at the discretion of seed companies. This process of separation began in Europe and North America at the turn of the nineteenth century, and continues today in developing countries and developed countries alike.

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ARIPO?s PVP law undermines Farmers? Rights & Food Security in Africa

(Dar es Salaam, Harare, Kampala, Johannesburg). The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) has proposed a draft regional harmonized policy and legal framework on Plant Variety Protection (PVP), based on the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) Convention of 1991. The draft legal framework, if adopted, will have significant adverse consequences for small-scale farmers that dominate the agricultural landscape of ARIPO member states,1 as well as for food security, agricultural biodiversity and national sovereignty in Africa.

African civil society organizations (CSO) have submitted a detailed critique to ARIPO on the 6 November 2012, expressing their grave concerns with regard to the fundamentally flawed process involved in developing the draft PVP policy and legal framework, as well as with the legal framework itself. According to Mariam Mayet of the African Centre for Biosafety ?The legal framework will not only facilitate the theft of African germplasm and privatization of seed breeding. It will ensure the unhindered creation of a commercial seed market, where the types of seeds on offer are restricted to commercially protected varieties within a context where farmers? rights to freely use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed are seriously eroded.?

The African

Submission by ACB and African CSOs to ARIPO on its draft PVP law and policies, November 2012

During October/November 2012, a number of African groups from civil society in Africa supported a submission to ARIPO on its draft policy and legal framework for PVP. In such submission, the groups pointed out that draft legal framework was not written with the interests of sub-Saharan African states in mind, particularly ARIPO member states. This is because there is no attempt to develop a sui generis system suitable to the African context. It instead blindly copies and expands on UPOV 1991.

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Open Letter to African Governments and AGRA (The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa)

The undersigned 28 civil society organizations support and represent the interests of smallholder farmers and livestock keepers from Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, and are concerned with the conservation of agricultural biodiversity for livelihood security and food sovereignty.

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View the full statement here.

Statement on AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa)

At a farmers rights meeting held in Uganda September 2012 a statement was drawn up and signed by many concerned parties.

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Download the press release here.
Signatures:

1. ActionAid, Tanzania
2. ActionAid, Uganda
3. Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, Uganda
4. African Biodiversity Network – representing 36 organisations in Africa
5. African Centre for Biosafety, South Africa
6. Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development, Uganda
7. Community Technology Development Trust, Zimbabwe
8. Eastern amp; Southern Africa Farmer’s Forum, Tanzania
9. Eastern amp; Southern Africa Farmer’s Forum, Uganda
10. Eastern amp; Southern Africa Farmer’s Forum, Zambia
11. Envirocare, Tanzania
12. Ethio-Organic Seed Action, Ethiopia
13. Food Rights Alliance, Uganda
14. Inades Formation, Kenya
15. Kenya Biodiversity Coalition – representing 67 civil society groups
16. National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda
17. Participatory Ecological Land Use Management – representing 230 civil society
groups including
18. PELUM Kenya,
19. PELUM Rwanda,
20. PELUM Tanzania and
21. PELUM Uganda.
22. Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute, Uganda
23. Surplus People Project, South Africa
24. Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity, Tanzania – representing 15 organisations
25. The Pincer Group International Ltd, Uganda
26. Third World Network
27.