Seeds

The 'seeds issue' was what got GRAIN started almost 30 years ago, and it is still a central area of work for us. The biodiversity in farmers' fields is eroding at alarming rates, while the corporate seed sector is reaching unprecedented levels of control through the push for hybrids, genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) and concentration. Across the world, governments are promoting or allowing restrictive seed and intellectual property laws that grant exclusive power to the corporate sector while limiting the possibilities of small farmers to save, exchange and further develop their own varieties. But equally all over the world, social movements are sprouting up and growing to challenge these developments and establish networks to conserve and use local materials. This programme area allows GRAIN to be part of this movement and contribute with research and information work, as well as capacity and movement building support.

 

Seeds in resistance

ANAFAE, REDSAG, Red de Biodiversidad, Grupo Semillas, Acción Ecológica, Articulación Nacional de Agroecología, Acción por la Biodiversidad and GRAIN | 26 March 2018 | Multimedia, Videos, Seeds

"Seeds in resistance" is an animation developed in connection with the documentary "Seeds: commons or corporate property?", produced in 2017 by a collective of Latin American organisations from all across the continent that are working to defend native seeds as the basis of peoples' food sovereignty.

 

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In August 2017, a Mexican research team composed of members from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM) published a study showing the presence of transgenes and the herbicide glyphosate in processed foods and tortillas made from industrial maize (corn) throughout Mexico.

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Civil society decries FSANZ approval of Golden Rice

Stop Golden Rice! Network and GRAIN | 22 February 2018 | Seeds

The recent release of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) approval report of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) application for a Golden Rice ‘safety stamp’ and trade liability clearance have garnered negative reactions and widespread critique. 

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The Latin American Seeds Collective presents the documentary "Seeds: commons or corporate property?"

ANAFAE, REDSAG, Red de Biodiversidad, Grupo Semillas, Acción Ecológica, Articulación Nacional de Agroecología, Acción por la Biodiversidad and GRAIN | 29 January 2018 | Other publications, Seeds, Videos

Jointly produced by eight Latin American organisations and edited by Radio Mundo Real, the documentary "Seeds: commons or corporate property?" draws on the experiences and struggles of social movements for the defence of indigenous and native seeds in Ecuador, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras, Argentina, Colombia, and Guatemala. 

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The autonomy of African states on seed policy is limited by trade deals, such as free trade agreements or investment treaties, signed by States. Certainly, in principle, each country has sovereignty to sign or not sign these agreements. But they are very often forced to conclude them for financial, geopolitical, security or other reasons. GRAIN published a baseline study of these agreements, either signed or in the process of being negotiated, in June 2016 (see “Trade agreements that privatise biodiversity outside the WTO, Annex 1”). Today, what is the situation?

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The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) has just published its annual report, which confirms that the Southern Cone of Latin America is the region of the world producing the largest quantity of GMOs and having the largest land area under a single monoculture (over 54 million hectares of GM soy in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and southern Bolivia).

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Skillful selection and nurturing of the seeds best suited to a particular location are at the heart of peasant farming and agroforestry systems. The resulting agrobiodiversity of hundreds of thousands of crop varieties and animal races found in peasants’ fields around the globe provides the corner stone of the world’s food system. Peasant farmers and the local varieties that they developed are still feeding the majority of us. By contrast, industrial agriculture dominated by a small number of transnational corporations has drastically reduced the agrobiodiversity of crop varieties grown. It has also encroached rapidly on the land that peasant farmers rely on to produce food and on peasants’ access to the diversity of seeds which forms the basis of peasant farming and agroforesty systems.

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Since 2001, GRAIN has been tracking how so-called free trade agreements (FTAs), negotiated largely in secret, outside the World Trade Organisation (WTO) are being used to go beyond existing international standards on the patenting of life forms. In this report, we provide an update on the FTAs that are legalising corporate theft and threatening farmers’ ability to save, produce and exchange seeds around the world. The report includes two updated datasets on "FTAs privatising biodiversity outside the WTO" and the "Status of countries in terms of joining various seed-related treaties". 

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Ever since the ink dried on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), people have become aware of another mega-trade deal being negotiated behind closed doors in the Asia-Pacific region. Like the TPP, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) threatens to increase corporate power in member countries, leaving ordinary people with little recourse to assert their rights to things like land, safe food, life-saving medicines and seeds.

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In February 2016, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a controversial new trade agreement covering 12 countries of the Asia-Pacific region, was signed in Aotearoa/New Zealand. The result of a US-driven process, the agreement aims to boost trade and investment among a select group of countries—excluding China. The TPP will have a major impact on farmers’ access to and control over seeds. But there is another “mega” trade deal sneaking into Asia: the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). In this report, GRAIN looks at what RCEP might mean for farmers’ seeds in the region, in the context of the recently signed TPP.

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