A SEED makes participants GMO Conference 2009 jump through hoop
The Hague, 25 November 2009 – During the GMO Conference 2009 the Dutch Minister of Agriculture Verburg received a petition from the Campaign against Toxic Soy, signed by 10.500 people. They call the Dutch government to stop putting development money into the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS).
Gerda Verburg (Dutch minister of Agriculture) and Maria van der Hoeven (minister of Economic Affairs) last week announced their preparation of a bill that would include a restricted breeders exemption to the national law on patents (Rijksoctrooiwet 1995). Plantum NL , representing the Dutch seed branche, responded with optimism to the announcement. According to A SEED Europe the proposed limited exemption on patenting of living organisms is very far from sufficient. It does not counteract an unwanted concentration of power in the agricultural and food sector.
300 representatives from 37 countries, representing formal and informal GMO-free regions, GMO-free initiatives and activists on related issues from all over Europe. Breeders and seed exchangers, farmers, bee-keepers, gmo-free traders, processors and retailers as well as consumers, critical scientists and environmental activists have met in the conference. The participants critically discussed the new GMO policy of the European Union, which was presented to them by EU Commissioner John Dalli.
“A new earthquake” is what peasant farmer leader Chavannes Jean-Baptiste of the Peasant Movement of Papay (MPP) called the news that Monsanto will be donating 60,000 seed sacks (475 tons) of hybrid corn seeds and vegetable seeds, some of them treated with highly toxic pesticides. The MPP held a march to protest the corporation’s presence in Haiti on June 4, for World Environment Day. A protest letter can be sent to the Haitian government from the website of Rain Forrest Rescue (Rettet den Regenwald) .
Procedural tweaks fail to protect the public and the environment
On 13 July 2010 the European Commission announced proposals to speed up the union’s genetically modified (GM) crop authorisation procedure. Member states are being promised the right to ban GM cultivation if they reduce their opposition during the EU-level authorisation process.
The Bike Caravan against GMOs and for an autonomous, local and ecological agriculture will travel in Switzerland between 19th and 27th of June 2010 from Pully to Reckenholz. Check out their website Www.caravane-anti-ogm.ch and click to continue to their call….
On Tuesday the 20th of July patents and patent applications on sunflowers, melons, broccoli, cows and pigs went up in smoke as demonstrators outside the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich used their truly innovative Patent Burner. Several hundred individuals and representatives of farmers organisations and NGO’s from around the world gathered to protest against the EPO and against the patents the EPO are issuing on plants and animals. That day was the start of the hearing by the highest EPO Board of Appeal. Subject of the hearing are controversial patents on conventionally bred broccoli and wrinkled tomatoes.
(By organic chain organisation Bionext ,formerly Biologica)On June 30, 2010, the Dutch parliament discussed the report “Veredelde zaken”. This report focuses on two protection methods for intellectual property used in the plant breeding sector, patenting and breeders’ rights (see below). The report shows that patent law not only limits access to genetic resources but also to the market and hence increase power concentrations in the breeding sector. This restricts innovations in plant breeding and supply of (new) varieties and thus constitutes a direct threat to food security.
On September 16, 2010, coinciding with the conference on European GMO free regions at the EU parliament, a workshop by the Faucheurs Volontairs (Voluntary Field Liberators) took place outside, on the Place du Luxembourg, under the watchful eye of the police.