Farmers’ Groups Warn ARIPO About Implementing UPOV 91 In Africa 30/10/2013 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 3 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)A collective civil society group has raised concerns about a draft Africa Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) plant variety protection law, which is based on the 1991 version of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). The draft law, which may come up for adoption in November, would criminalise farmers’ rights and undermine the seed systems in Africa, they said. The group is the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, which includes networks and farmers’ organisations working in Africa, such as the African Biodiversity network, the Coalition for the Protection of African Genetic Heritage, Friends of the Earth Africa, La Via Campesina Africa, Community Knowledge Systems, and the Network of Farmers’ and Agricultural Producers’ Organisations of West Africa. In their 18 October statement, posted on the website of the nongovernmental group GRAIN, the groups say they are “gravely concerned” about the draft law which could possibly be adopted at the next ARIPO Administrative Council and Council of Ministers meeting expected to be held on 25-29 November in Kampala, Uganda. As part of an effort to harmonise seed laws in Africa, the regional legal framework is “designed to facilitate the transformation of African agriculture from peasant-based to inherently inequitable, dated and unsustainable Green Revolution/industrial agriculture,” they said. It is also designed to push African countries into joining UPOV 1991, they added. The new framework would “make it illegal for farmers to engage in their age-old practice of freely using, sharing and selling seeds/propagating material; a practice that underpins 90% of the smallholder agriculture systems in sub-Saharan Africa.” The process of developing the legal framework, they said, “has been closed to farmers, farmer organisations, and other members of civil society. The industry and its linked associations … have extensively been consulted.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."Farmers’ Groups Warn ARIPO About Implementing UPOV 91 In Africa" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.