This story from Guinea-Bissau (West Africa) tells how an interethnic technology transfer improved food security and led to the use of better adapted seeds.

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SUI GENERIS - A DEAD END ALLEY

Camila Montecinos | 12 November 1996 | Seedling - December 1996

A self-critical evaluation on NGO's efforts to devise `sui generis' intellectual property systems that really serve to protect the rights of indigenous peoples and farming or other local communities.

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The preparatory process to the World Food Summit has been paved with power plays between the different development agendas, with free-trade and globalisation proponents ready to eliminate self-sufficiency as the main food security strategy.

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For the first time since the early 1960s, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) based in Los Baños, The Philippines, is once again redesigning the rice plant. Deeply embedded in the malthusian myth, IRRI seems to have learnt little from the lessons of the Green Revolution.

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Governments and NGO's should take advantage of the CBD discussions on agricultural biodiversity, IPRs and the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples to counter further privatisation of genetic resources.

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While maize is a major staple food for many countries in the South, in the North it is the main animal feed crop and, increasingly, a raw material for industrial use. An exploration of the infighting among the biotechnology actors for control over this "green gold".

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FROM THE EDITORS

GRAIN | 25 June 1996 | Seedling - June 1996

Facing up to the negotiations in FAO and the Convention on Biological Diversity this year, the Editors wrap up the three articles in this issue  related to the industrialisation of agriculture and commodification of genetic resources  with a brief reflection on the Global Plan of Action which is up for discussion this month in Leipzig.

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