In a letter issued on 20 September 2012 (now published in an unofficial English translation), Henk Bleker, the Dutch Minister for Agriculture and Foreign Trade, stated that “UPOV 1991 cannot be applied to all developing countries but that a different approach is desired.”
The UPOV Council, the Consultative Committee, and the Administrative and Legal Committee met between 20 and 22 March 2013
The key matters addressed were, among others, the Plant Breeders’ Right Bill of Zanzibar; Programme and Budget 2014-2015, Explanatory Notes to the 1991 Convention on three topics, including Essentially Derived Varieties, and Harvested Materials; developments of relevance to UPOV in other international fora; and participation of observers at the Advisory Committee to the Administrative and Legal Committee.
Civil society organisations from the SADC region, and around the world have condemned the SADC draft Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (Plant Breeders’ Rights) as spelling disaster for small farmers and food security in the region. These groups, representing millions of farmers in Africa and around the world have submitted their concerns to the SADC Secretariat. They are calling for the rejection of the Protocol and urgent consultations with farmers, farmer movements and civil society before it’s too late.
It has become crucial to defend seeds. In the past 20 or 30 years, what was once seen as normal – peasant farmers growing, selecting, saving and exchanging seeds – has come under attack from corporations seeking to control and commodify the very basis of agriculture. This was the subject of the session at the World Social Forum in Tunis on Peasant Seeds jointly organized on March 28, 2013 by La Vía Campesina, GRAIN and the ETC Group.
Farmers’ and civil society organizations in Tanzania are concerned about the rush for Zanzibar to adopt its Plant Breeders’ Rights Bill. It would hasten Tanzania’s entry into the UPOV intellectual property legal framework with grave consequences for farmers.
For the statement and list of signatories: