The fight for seed freedom


23 March 2015

Today US AID and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are hosting an invite-only, secret meeting with aid donors and big seed companies to discuss a strategy to make it easier for seed companies to sell patented ‘improved’ seeds in Africa. However this agenda will increase corporate control over seeds, benefitting big companies at the expense of small farmers in Africa.   

‘Whoever controls seeds, controls the food system’

For generations, small farmers have been able to save and swap seeds. This vital practice enables farmers to keep a wide range of seeds which helps maintain biodiversity and helps them to adapt to climate change and protect from plant disease. However, this system of seed saving is under threat by corporations who want to take more control over seeds. Big seed companies are keen to grow their market share of commercial seeds in Africa and alongside philanthropic organisations like the Gates Foundation and aid donors, they are discussing new ways to increase their market penetration of commercial seeds and displacing farmers own seed systems.

Corporate-produced hybrid seeds often produce higher yields when first planted, but the second generation seeds will produce low yields and unpredictable crop traits, making them unsuitable for saving and storing. This means that instead of saving seeds from their own crops, farmers who use hybrid seeds become completely dependent on the seed companies that sell them. Often the seeds are sold in packages with chemical fertiliser and pesticides which can lead to spiralling debt as well as damaging the environment and causing health problems.

 “Women farmers have few resources and do not want seed that we can plant for one season only or seed that is owned by companies. We believe in our own seeds that we can access from our own collections or from our farmer networks, free of charge.”

Beatrice Katsigazi Eastern and Southern Africa Farmers Forum, Uganda

Global Justice Now along with the UK Food Sovereignty Movement are protesting at the meeting today in solidarity of with small scale farmers in Africa who are fighting for their seed freedom. You can help to expose this corporate agenda by joining in with our twitter action on Monday.

Tags:

Blog

Five inspiring Instagram accounts you should be following


12 December 2017

Here’s a selection of five inspiring Instagram accounts using art and self-expression to challenge racism, sexism and neoliberalism one snap at a time.

We need not be spectators in the climate catastrophe

Today, our earth is literally on fire and those keeping this global issue burning must be brought to justice. Sometimes the law can be an ally of the struggle for climate justice, not an enemy.

The Syria police scandal shows it’s time to reclaim aid from the private profiteers


04 December 2017
Aid

Today UK aid is on the front pages again for all the wrong reasons. As today’s headlines peddle yet another story of aid misused by private contractors, this time in a conflict zone, the anti-aid lobby have been handed an open goal by the government’s continuing attempts to divert aid away from its core purpose.