Ghana is in serious danger from the Plant Breeders Bill currently before Parliament. The bill is a giveaway of our agricultural heritage and our agricultural future to western multinational corporations. In return, Ghana gets nothing but false and empty promises. MPs have been promised investment will come from the bill. It will be the same extractive investment that has plagued African countries for centuries, investment designed to extract the wealth from Ghana, including our water and soil nutrients, for the benefit of western investors and the expansion of western monopolies.
THE PLANT BREEDERS’ BILL:
- WILL DESTROY OUR FARMERS’ RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
The Plant Breeders Bill destroys farmers’ rights and freedoms and expands the rights and reach of multinational corporations. The bill is based on UPOV 1991, a restrictive and inflexible legal regime. It is focused solely on promoting and protecting industrial seed breeders that develop genetically uniform seeds/plant varieties suited to mechanized large-scale agriculture growing monocultures for export.
- PROTECTS THE MULTINATIONAL AGRIBUSINESS CORPORATIONS NOT THE FARMERS OR THE PLANTS
The history of UPOV laws such as the Plant Breeders’ Bill is one of an ongoing and apparently limitless expansion of seed company rights while farmers’ rights and freedoms shrink to nothing.
- MAKES IT ILLEGAL FOR FARMERS TO FREELY SAVE, USE, SHARE, AND SELL SEEDS
The Plant Breeders Bill will make it illegal for farmers to engage in their age-old practice of freely saving, using, sharing and selling seeds. They will not be permitted to freely save, share, or sell seeds from previous seasons for planting in subsequent seasons. Farmers using saved seed may be required to pay royalties to the multinational breeders. Saved seeds may even be confiscated and destroyed. In this respect, the Plant Breeders’ Bill literally outlaws the business of farming.
- WILL ELIMINATE JOBS
The bill will reduce employment and the number of jobs. The bill will require farmers to buy new seed every year and buy the toxic chemicals that are required for use with these corporate seeds. This will drive many farmers into debt. Burdened by
debt, farmers are likely to lose their farms, and those working on farms will move to the cities, where there are no jobs to replace the lost farming jobs.
- WILL MAKE GHANA DEPENDENT ON FOREIGN CORPORATIONS FOR OUR SEEDS AND FOOD
Farmers will be forced to buy the limited variety of seeds available from multinational corporate plant breeders.
- WILL DESTROY THE RICH VARIETY OF FOODS WE LOVE
The Plant Breeders’ Bill aims to replace traditional varieties of seeds with uniform commercial varieties and force the dependency of smallholders on commercial seed varieties. The effect of these laws in other countries is to drastically reduce the number of varieties of available seed.
- WILL EXPOSE GHANAIANS TO MASSIVE AND INCREASING QUANTITIES OF TOXIC CHEMICALS
The seed varieties sold by the multinational corporations require repeated and increasing applications of toxic chemicals in order to grow. Farmers will be forced to purchase and use these chemicals which pollute the plants, the soil, the water, and air. Right now Ghanaian grown food is relatively free of chemicals. This bill will destroy that.
- GIVE AWAY GHANA’S SOVEREIGNTY
Clause 23 gives away Ghana’s sovereignty. The rights of the multinational plant breeder corporations are held above the rights of Ghanaians. If Ghana passes laws to protect our health and environment from the plant breeder corporations it could be subject to massive judgment debts.
- FACILITATE BIOPIRACY
The Plant Breeders’ Bill facilitates biopiracy, the theft of the genetic inheritance of
Ghanaians, the germplasm of Ghana’s seeds, which for centuries we have developed freely with seeds grown and traded collectively as part of our farming culture. The bill does not provide for mechanisms of prior informed consent and access and benefit sharing. The multinationals will then use the seed DNA Ghanaians have developed, saved, and shared to develop seeds to sell back to Ghana.
- HAS NOT CONSIDERED THE VIEWS OF FARMERS
Farmers have not been consulted, or even informed about the bill’s features and implications even though it will change their entire way of life and their ability to farm at all. The US Embassy, Western governments and corporations have advised Parliament on the Plant Breeders Bill, not farmers. The Plant Breeders Bill protects the private sector, mostly multinational agribusiness corporations, under the pretext that this is in the interest of small-scale farmers.
GHANA’S FOOD SUPPLY, WHAT WE EAT AND WHETHER WE EAT ARE AT STAKE.
CONTACT YOUR MP! SAY VOTE NO! ON THE PLANT BREEDERS BILL!