martes, junio 12, 2007


Rome, 11.06.2007 – Global ban on patents on seeds and farm animals.

Today, in an expert meeting of the FAO in Rome, Greenpeace, the Swiss
development organisation SwissAid and the biggest Italian farmers
organization Coldiretti are urging for a global ban. The three
organisations are representing a new coalition called “No Patents on
Seeds” which is supported by more than 30 farmer organisations
worldwide and more than hundreds other organisations
( The organisations are afraid that
especially in Europe more and more patents are claimed and granted on
plants and animals derived from normal, conventional breeding. The FAO
expert meeting in Rome, is in preparation for a major international
conference in September at Interlaken, Switzerland.

“Big companies such as Syngenta are claiming broad patents on basic
staple crops such as rice. The worldwide coalition will continue to put
pressure on companies like Syngenta to drop such patents, that are
threatening the world’s food security,“ says Tina Goethe from

But not only seeds are subjected to broad monopoly claims. According to
research of Greenpeace the US Company of Monsanto was already filing
dozens of patent applications in the context of normal pig breeding.
Patents on farm animals will only help large livestock genetics
companies to increase their power and market domination, as a recent
study by the League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock
Development points out. Smallholder livestock farmers and pastoralists
find it very difficult to compete when public subsidies, research funds
and regulations favour industry. The loss of breeds of smallholders and
pastoralists is one of the major issues of the FAO expert meeting in

“We were really shocked when we found out that Monsanto is planning
take over of animal breeding sector after they already managed to
become worldwide number one in buying up seed companies” says Federica
Ferrario from Greenpeace Italy. “We are happy that FAO is dealing with
this issue now that it can be decisive for future of world food supply”.

“We have to stop the patentability over genetic resources for plant and
animal breeding. Otherwise farmers and consumers will loose the control
of the whole chain of production – from stable to the table,“ says

“The goal is to defend not only the alimentary sovereignty, but also a
model of sustainable agriculture that respects quality and
biodiversity. This model, thanks to those peculiarities guaranteed by
agricultural enterprises implementing the CAP, is an inalienable
heritage for the society of today and tomorrow”.

“No patents on seeds” is a global petition directed to the European
Patent Office, where a precedent case has been currently discussed: a
patent on a conventionally bred Broccoli variety, covering seeds,
edible parts and the whole plant. Other patents such these, directed to
maize and rice, will especially affect countries of the South.

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