On August 10 and 11, the training and exchange workshop "Seeds, common good or corporate property?" Was held in Paraná - Entre Ríos. with the purpose of deepening our knowledge of the problems that peasant and family agriculture faces today in Argentina and to discuss the situation of our native and creole seeds and the threats that loom over them.
The workshop organized by Acción por la Biodiversidad and the Foro Ecologista de Paraná, with the support of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, had the participation of the Coordinator of Rural Workers of Misiones (Cotrum), the Institute of Socio-environmental Health of Rosario, the Union de Trabajadores de la Tierra (UTT), Ecos de Saladillo, Tinta Verde, Handkerchiefs in Rebeldía, Huerquen, ANRed, Mocase - Via Campesina, Agroecological Movement of Misiones, the Seed Bank of Ñanderoga - Rosario, members of the Open Chair of Sovereignty Alimentaria de Paraná, producers of the “La Porota” agroecological project and the Network of Technicians in Agroecology of the Litoral. All of them from different regions of our country, located in Misiones, Santa Fe, Rosario, Saladillo, La Plata, Santiago del Estero, Paraná and CABA.
The central axis of the workshop was the seeds, and the struggle for their permanence in the hands of peasant women and men, to guarantee the production of healthy and sovereign food. The framework of the discussion focused on the advancement of agribusiness, which in the last 50 years has appropriated the knowledge and agricultural varieties that peasants have developed over 10,000 years. The problem of corporate advancement, intellectual property rights over seeds were also deepened and testimonies of experiences of production and resistance in the territories were shared, in addition to sharing training and articulation needs around these issues by each organization and / or collective.
The sessions, which were developed under the workshop methodology, allowed dialogue between different realities and revealed as a central problem the conditions in which the producers find themselves, the most worrying being the lack of access to land, the forced purchase of a dollarized technological package that keeps them in debt, and the deterioration of their health due to the use of pesticides; One of the biggest challenges that arises is the importance of conserving one's own seeds, so as not to depend on large seedbeds, and the need for the State to create policies that allow the construction of another model of food production.
The threat of the amendment to the Seed Law in Argentina
The attempt to modify the Seed Law was one of the major concerns of the workshop members. As reported by the exhibitors, said Law seeks to take another step in the appropriation of Creole and native seeds since if the country adheres to UPOV 91, “own use” will no longer be allowed, which implies the prohibition of saving one's own seeds, criminalizing a practice that peasants have carried out for thousands of years. In this way, the model imposed through industrial agriculture tries to erase the knowledge that peasants and indigenous people have shared and transforms seeds, which were always a heritage of humanity at the service of the peoples, into merchandise.
Even so, the seeds resist in the hands of those who work the land and that is why on Saturday afternoon the experiences that peasant organizations and urban agriculture organizations have been developing to conserve their own seeds were shared, the workshop participants brought seeds from their places of origin and exchanged them in solidarity. Members of the Multisectoral No to the Monsanto Seed Law shared the activities they have been carrying out to put a stop to the modification of the law. Then, members of Mocase - Via Campesina and the Seed Bank of Ñanderoga (Rosario) told their story and their link with seeds through the years, with the intention of making these practices visible and exchanging knowledge related to the production and rescue of varieties.
No to the New Monsanto Seed Law in Argentina!
The seeds in the hands of the peasant communities!
For public policies that return the land to those who work it and for agroecological production!
Yes to Agroecology and Food Sovereignty!