4 July 2017 - PETITION for seed sovereinty -
This matter relating to seed and plant registration has been out in the public eye for a while now although most media outlets have already removed their links to articles, and a petition against it has been shared on various social media forum, yet less than 400 people to date have bothered to sign it.
This bill has already been approved by parliament and is now in front of the House of Provinces. If this bill comes into effect, your little veggie patch in your back yard will basically be owned by whomever could afford to register those strains of seed, and you will no longer be able to harvest those seeds legally in order to pass it on. Jail time and fines may be issued. Tanzania is already suffering the consequences of similar laws designed to protect only the large seed growing companies. Heirloom seeds will be a thing of the past, and you will HAVE to buy whatever seed you wish to plant.
The very same concept is being exercised with the Indigenous Knowledge Systems Bill (IKS) that will place exclusive rights to medicinal plants in the hands of only those that can afford to licence them. It is time to take your heads out of the braai smoke, Brandy and Coke fumes, racial division Gupta emails and smell the corruption endemic in South Africa's political/corporate interactions and become involved.
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27 June 2017 - To see the impact of similar laws enacted in Tanzania, refer to the attached link (11 Feb 2017). It is time that people look outside their little microcosm called their comfort zone and make themselves heard. If not, how can you become indignant when you have to put up with the results, or find no assistance when your comfort zone is threatened? As much as you live in your little own world, everything that happens outside of it does have an impact.
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Land and seed laws under attack as Africa is groomed for corporate recolonizationFarmers in Tanzania are already feeling the effect, not being able to even sell heritage seed as only "licenced" seed may be sold, and the cost to have your seed licenced in Tanzania is around €24,000, which is more than most farmers not using GMO seed earn in a year.
As I have indicated before, the South African government and its sponsors have created a brilliantly devious tool in the Indigenous Knowledge Systems Bill to circumvent restrictive patent laws in order to gain full and exclusive rights to indigenous knowledge on our plant species, but not restricted to plants.
The rest of Africa is also being threatened through the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO), and its 25 member countries, and the Arusha Protocol for the protection of new variety of plants. This has already placed Tanzanian farmers in the position of being jailed for 3 years and/or fined €225,000 for selling or trading unregistered(traditional wild type) seeds. At present only GMO seed companies could afford registering their seed in Tanzania.
The jump from registered food crop seeds to registered medicinal GMO plant seeds is but a pen stroke away. What is notable in the wording of many of these protocols, is that they insist that their rules and regulations should supersede the constitution of member countries. Lekker, ne?
This Forbes article indicates the push to relax patent law in the USA, and the funding to lobbyists. https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrisversace/2015/08/18/patent-reform-should-not-bailout-big-drug-companies/#834124734207
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As a prerequisite of joining the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN), Tanzania had to enact legislation in line with the UPOV 91-Convention concerning intellectual property rights on seeds as a condition for receiving development assistance. Under these laws, local farmers may only sell licenced seeds, meaning they have to foot the bill to have their own seeds patented. This law was originally instituted to protect GMO company interests, with the either unforeseen or planned result that the age old tradition of sharing, bartering and trading their seeds is now illegal.