The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) works for the privatisation of seeds around the world, imposing “intellectual property rights” over plant varieties and enabling companies to monopolise them. UPOV advances corporate rights through seed privatisation and restricts what the rest of us are allowed to do with seeds.
If communities are suspected of saving and exchanging their own seeds today, as human beings have been doing since time immemorial, they can be fined, imprisoned, and have their harvest seized. Ultimately, UPOV is criminalising the foundation of agriculture – people’s ability to save, exchange and breed seeds, discrediting historical practices and creating dependency on corporations.
We need to call for our collective memory: every crop known today is the result of work carried out by a diversity of people over generations. It is a collective conversation over millennia, in which people observe, select, practice multiple crossings, carry out field tests and make new selections.
So far 147 organisations and grassroots groups have signed the statement, coming together against UPOV. We are determined to resist the dispossession of seeds from the hands of the people. We, guardians of the seeds, shall continue keeping, sharing and reproducing our seeds so our presence will germinate from our roots. Visit the link in bit.ly/against-upov to sign the statement join us to #StopUPOV.