Friday, July 03, 2015

A Tool For Foreign Takeover Of Ghana's Agriculture

By seizing intellectual property rights to Africa's seeds, western corporations are attempting one of the greatest thefts in human history: the theft of the entire agricultural base of all the countries of Africa. 

Ghanaian citizens have so far prevented the passage of the Plant Breeders Bill, a UPOV-91-compliant law that would strip Ghanaian farmers of their rights to their own seeds. But there is worse coming from the African Regional Intellectual Property Association (ARIPO). To Ghana’s great credit, and despite determination and pressure from the G7, USAID and its contractors, despite the willing and enthusiastic cooperation of Ghana’s ministers, Attorney General, and both major political parties, Ghana has refused to pass a farmer destroying, sovereignty busting, UPOV law.

Ghanaian farmers and citizens are not falling for the International Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties (UPOV) con. The G7, USAID, Big Agribusiness, and Ghana's government and academic elites intend to go around the democratic process and force an end to Ghana's agricultural sovereignty.

If they can't pass a UPOV law within the country, they will impose it from outside. At the African Regional Intellectual Property Association (ARIPO) Diplomatic Conference in Arusha, Tanzania, this coming Monday, 29 June to 1 July 2015, ARIPO plans to adopt the highly contested draft ARIPO Plant Variety Protection Protocol (ARIPO PVP Protocol), based on UPOV 1991.

This is clearly an undemocratic attempt to smuggle the obnoxious UPOV-compliant Plant Breeders' Bill through the back door! Ghana’s farmers and citizens demand seed sovereignty, and clearly oppose GMOs and the deadly chemicals that are an integral part of commercial GMOs. The agribusiness corporations are chemical corporations. So they breed seeds that require you to buy and use their chemicals. This is unhealthy and piles debt on farmers. It takes money from the hands of poor farmers, takes it out of Ghana, and gives it to western corporate shareholders.

If the draft ARIPO PVP Protocol is to be adopted without changes, ARIPO and any ARIPO member that ratifies the Protocol can join UPOV 1991. This means that any member state of ARIPO can simply side-step national consultation processes and ratify the ARIPO Protocol, and in doing so, give up its national sovereignty to a centralized decision-making authority, and further, become a UPOV 1991 member, all in one foul undemocratic swoop. It is unconscionable that Ghana’s government should have any part in this despicable subversion of democracy.

The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, AFSA, is of the view that the whole process of developing the draft Protocol is fundamentally flawed, has been extremely un-transparent, and thus lacks credibility and legitimacy. Farmers and civil society groups have been cut out, and denied participation.
The principal aim of the ARIPO PVP Protocol is to create a harmonized regional plant variety protection system within the region in order to give prominence to breeders and place restrictions on seed/varieties protected under such a system. Such protected varieties are bred and sold to farmers through seed companies and other private entities and government/private led subsidy agricultural programmes. The main goal is to facilitate the capturing and control of all seed so that private companies can make profits by forcing farmers to buy seed and pay royalties.


By seizing intellectual property rights to Africa's seeds, taking African seed DNA, manipulating it in a laboratory, then claiming all rights to the seeds and their successive generations, western corporations are attempting one of the greatest thefts in human history, the theft of the entire agricultural base of all the countries of Africa.

read on here

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