Peasants’ seeds – rights and power
Illustration, Anna Loveday-Brow
The age-old process of creating and developing diversity in the fields has led to the development of a series of legal bases aimed at guaranteeing the exercising of collective rights, allowing for on-going co-evolution. Nation-states are responsible for determining how natural resources should be used and distributed, the rights that should provide access, use, and control of these resources, and who holds these rights. The balance of power within Nation-states and between states has now changed the nature of these rights, by imposing Intellectual Property Rights on seeds, and trying to undo the collective rights that communities or farmers have held and that have been codified over time. Against the violation of collective rights, such as those that guaranteed – or still guarantee – access, use and control of land, water and biodiversity, it is acceptable to exercise legitimate acts of self-defense, even if they are in breach of regulations.
The need for small-scale food producers to recover autonomy and sovereignty over the management of genetic resources is a fundamental tool. It is needed to adapt production to the needs of the world’s population and to the incessant changes of ecosystems. This must be explained to the ITPGRFA.
Antonio Onorati, President of Crocevia and international focal point for the IPC for Food Sovereignty