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Archived updates for Thursday, July 01, 2004

UN FAO: International plant genetic resources treaty enters into force

On June 29, 2004, the Food and Agricultural Orgabization of the United Nations announced that the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture has entered into force now that 55 countries have ratified it. 

The U.S. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, is calling on the Bush Administration to bring the treaty before Congress for ratification.  "The issue of saving seeds and keeping them in the public domain has become increasingly important with the introduction of genetically engineered seeds. In the U.S., biotech companies like Monsanto have filed hundreds of legal cases against farmers alleging that they saved the company’s patented genetically engineered seeds from one growing season to the next. If the U.S. ratified the treat, it would not give U.S. farmers the right to save seeds. It allows that national laws can supersede the Treaty, and current U.S. law does not protect farmers in this regard. But the treaty does empower other countries to set domestic laws that protect farmers' right to save seeds. 'It is time for the U.S. to join the rest of the world in protecting farmers rights to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed,' said Kristin Dawkins, Vice President of International Programs at IATP."

However, ithe view of the International Seed Federation representing the seed industry, these so-called "Farmer's Rightsare compatible with International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants ("UPOV") "Plant Breeder's Rightsin only certain cases.

Courtesy of William F. Heinze*
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