Seed and the control of seed lies at the heart of agriculture.
In Africa around 80% of seed comes from local and community saved seed resources. This seed is adapted to local conditions. It forms an integral part of community food security and agricultural integrity. This entire traditional system is now under threat.
A broad front of commercial interests, aided and abetted by the World Bank, the American Seed Association and government agencies, along with front groups, academics and so-called philanthropists, are endeavouring to alienate this crucial resource. [...]
What is at play here is a direct conflict between peasant farmers networks and the neo-colonial attempt to subvert African agriculture by restrictive, first world regulation. The Southern African model is being repeated in East and West Africa, through similar comprador networks.
What will happen should ↑UPOV [Union internationale pour la protection des obtentions végétales] be broadly adopted? As soon as indigenous seed becomes contaminated by patent protected seed varieties, all rights to share and trade that seed will be lost, forever.
The irony of this is profound, as the very germplasm, which ↑Monsanto and ↑Pioneer rely on is the result of thousands of years of peasant breeding that remains categorically unrecognised. What is good for the goose is clearly not good for the gander. The end result will only see one winner, which will certainly not be indigenous African farmers. (Ashton 2013)
ASHTON, GLENN. 2013. ↑Africa: Is Africa about to lose the right to her seed? AllAfrica 23 April 2013. Available online.