Monsanto and Big Ag Colonizing Africa, Criminalizing Traditional Seed Exchanges
Of the many concerns surrounding the dominance of agrichemicals companies and GMO foods, the most frightening dimension is that corporate manufactured seed is wiping out global biodiversity in food crops and creating a punitive legal framework for our total dependence on these companies for food.
Monsanto, Syngenta and other majors in agribusiness are presently colonizing Africa with the help of international aid programs which force nations into agreements requiring dependence on patented seeds, thereby prohibiting traditional seed exchanges.
Reporting on the situation in Tanzania, Ebe Daems of Mondiaal Nieuws informs us of recent legislation which puts local farmers under the threat of heavy fines of up to €205,300 and even prison terms of up to 12 years for violating the intellectual property rights of agrichemicals companies if individuals sell or trade in non-patented seed.
If you buy seeds from Syngenta or Monsanto under the new legislation, they will retain the intellectual property rights. If you save seeds from your first harvest, you can use them only on your own piece of land for non-commercial purposes. You’re not allowed to share them with your neighbors or with your sister-in-law in a different village, and you cannot sell them for sure. But that’s the entire foundation of the seed system in Africa, ~Michael Farrelly of TOAM, an organic farming movement in Tanzania.
This is highly disturbing, yet the laws are part of the umbrella of G8 agreements which require intellectual property rights to be enforced as part of an exchange for development aid. This type of agreement is shockingly similar to the methods described by economic hitman John Perkins, who, in his book Confessions of an Economic Hitman, explained how aid and development agencies conquer sovereign nations by offering at in exchange for natural resources.
Tanzania applied the legislation concerning intellectual property rights on seeds as a condition for receiving development assistance through the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN). The NAFSN was launched in 2012 by the G8 with the goal to help 50 million people out of poverty and hunger in the ten African partner countries through a public-private partnership. The initiative receives the support of the EU, the US, the UK, the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Companies that invest in the NAFSN are expected to pay attention to small-scale farmers and women in their projects, but sometimes little of that is noticed. As a result, the NAFSN receives a lot of criticism from NGOs and civil-society movements. Even the European Parliament issued a very critical report in May this year to urge the European Commission to take action. [Source]
Ostensibly, the aim of G8 and the World Trade Organization is to help poor nations pull themselves out of poverty; however, this is now fully exposed as a Trojan horse to create a dangerous dependency on the global corporations that back these monolithic globalist institutions.
As a result, the farmers’ seed system will collapse, because they can’t sell their own seeds. Multinationals will provide our country with seeds and all the farmers will have to buy them from them. That means that we will lose biodiversity, because it is impossible for them to investigate and patent all the seeds we need. We’re going to end up with fewer types of seeds.
I have seeds of my family, because my great-grandmother used them. She gave them to my grandmother, who gave them to my mother and my mother then gave them to me. I’ve planted them here in the demonstration garden in Morogoro and that’s why very rare plants now grow here. Local farmers find it hard to understand the idea that you can patent and own a seed. Seed should simply be something that is easily available. ~Janet Maro, head of Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT).
As corrupt governments and bureaucracies so often do, Tanzania claims that the imposed restrictions on native seed trade were never meant to penalize local farmers, but rather to protect them by allowing them to patent their own seed, a legal process which seems utterly foreign and totally outrageous to those who actually produce food for their communities.
Exchanging seed has always been the primary way in which human beings around the world cultivate food, and a legal framework which allows corporations to outlaw this practice is overwhelmingly dangerous and diabolical. As the agrichemicals industry forces the world into a patented, factory farming model that is heavily dependent on toxic chemicals and terminator seeds, small-scale farmers are struggling to maintain solvency and a shift towards corporate dominance of the food supply is well underway.
Read more articles by Alex Pietrowski.
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and Offgrid Outpost, a provider of storable food and emergency kits. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.
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