The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) has released its new report titled, Harmonisation of Africa’s seed laws: a recipe for disaster- Players, motives and dynamics. The report shows how African governments are being co-opted into harmonising seed laws relating to border control measures, phytosanitary control, variety release systems, certification standards and intellectual property rights, to the detriment of African small-holder farmers and their seed systems.
According to Mariam Mayet of the ACB, “The effect of these efforts, which are being pushed through African regional trading blocs such as COMESA and SADC include:
- facilitating the unlawful appropriation and privatization of African germplasm;
- providing extremely strong intellectual property protection for commercial seed breeders and severely restricting the rights of farmers to freely use, exchange and sell farm-saved seeds;
- facilitating the creation of regional seed markets where the only types of seed on offer to small scale farmers are commercially protected varieties; and
- threatening farmer- managed seed systems and markets.