December 15, 2009 – The winner of the Angry Mermaid Award 2009 for worst corporate climate lobbyist in Copenhagen is biotech giant Monsanto with 37 per cent of the total vote. Award-winning writer and journalist Naomi Klein announced the news at the UN climate talks in the Danish capital . Agriculture giant Monsanto was nominated for promoting its genetically modified (GM) crops as a solution to climate change and pushing for its crops to be used as biofuels. The expansion of GM soy in Latin America is contributing to major deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.
Farmers and activists protest against new EU-regulation for seeds. A call for action and alternatives.
Against the background of an upcoming regulation on EU level, which is likely to expand corporate control over seeds, the “first link” in the food chain, initiatives and organisations that save and exchange seeds prepare for a European-wide campaign “Sowing the future – Harvesting diversity”. The 5th seminar of European Seed Initiatives from 25th till 27th March 2010 in Graz, Austria will be a central place of discussion and of planning activities to defend farmers’ rights over seeds and agricultural biodiversity.
February 23, 2010 – The latest data on GM crops around the world, from the industry-funded group ISAAA, reveals that seven out of 25 countries had reduced GM cultivation areas in 2009 and another remained static. Furthermore, no new countries grew GM crops during this period and GM Cultivation in Europe dropped more than 10%. On the day of the release of annual industry-sponsored figures, a new report from Friends of the Earth International ‘Who Benefits from GM Crops’ reveals that claims made by the biotech industry that genetically modified (GM) crops can combat climate change are both exaggerated and premature.
– Sign the Petition until July 2010! –
Farmers’ organisations from around the world, breeders, UN institutions as well as development and environmental organisations have repeatedly raised major concerns about the increasing monopolisation of seeds and farm animals via patents over the last few years. The loss of independence and rising indebtedness for farmers, a reduction of plant and animal diversity, and ever higher constraints for breeding and research activities represent some of the most worrying impacts of this trend. But despite these alarming experiences so far no legal measures are in sight to stop this trend. Tens of thousands of people have signed the petition against patents on seeds.
Protect a GMO-Free Europe!
The European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, and the new European Health Commissioner in charge of genetically modified crops (GMOs), John Dalli, have started their term with a clear signal: they approved for the first time since 1998 the release of a GMO into the environment, BASF’s potato “Amflora”, against the will of a majority in Europe. Send a letter to a European government of your choice asking them to STOP GMO APRROVALS.
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.
“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.
(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.