The story appears on

Page A11

September 8, 2009

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » World

Seeds of discontent in developing world

FARMERS in developing countries were losing traditional varieties because of increasing corporate control of the seeds they planted, hampering their ability to cope with climate change, a London-based think tank said yesterday.

The International Institute for Environment and Development said in a report that the diversity of traditional seed varieties was falling fast and this meant valuable traits such as drought and pest resistance could be lost forever.

The report was issued ahead of the World Seed Conference which opens today at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.

"Where farming communities have been able to maintain their traditional varieties, they are already using them to cope with the impacts of climate change," said project leader Krystyna Swiderska of IIED.

"But more commonly, these varieties are being replaced by a smaller range of 'modern' seeds that are heavily promoted by corporations and subsidized by governments."

IIED partner organizations in China, India, Kenya and Peru participated in the research behind the report.

The report said an international treaty on the protection of new varieties of plants, known as UPOV, protected the profits of private corporations but failed to recognize and protect the rights and knowledge of poor farmers.

"Western governments and the seed industry want to upgrade the UPOV Convention to provide stricter exclusive rights to commercial plant breeders," Swiderska said.

"This will further undermine the rights of farmers and promote the loss of seed diversity that poor communities depend on for their resilience."


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend