Free Trade Agreements Threaten Farmers’ Rights, Food Security, Group Says 21/07/2016 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 2 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)Small farmers around the world are threatened by new free trade agreements, a civil society group has argued. Those agreements go beyond the requirements of agreed international intellectual property rules and jeopardise the ability of small farmers to save, produce, and exchange seeds, the group said. GRAIN just published its latest opinion piece [pdf], part of its “Against the grain” series. This one focuses on the potential threat of free trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in Asia. According to GRAIN, a number of free-trade agreements negotiated outside the World Trade Organization go beyond the requirements of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In particular, the piece said, United States and European Union corporations are pushing for provisions which would allow companies to take patents on plants and animals, for countries to adopt the rules of the 1991 Convention of International Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties (UPOV), and to join the Budapest Treaty on the recognition of deposits of micro-organisms “for the purpose of patent protection.” “These measures give monopoly powers to agribusiness at the expense of small and indigenous farming communities,” GRAIN said. Preventing farmers from saving, exchanging or modifying seeds from so-called protected plant varieties is “a tremendous injustice,” it said, “since farmers and indigenous peoples are the original source of these seeds.” The two biggest threats to small-scale farmers’ control over their seeds are the TPP and the RCEP, GRAIN said, noting that the RCEP is bigger than the TPP in terms of how many people it will affect. Corporate varieties replace the diversity in farmers’ fields, it added, and “this genetic uniformity makes the world’s food supply extremely vulnerable.” Image Credits: Flickr – ICRISAT 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."Free Trade Agreements Threaten Farmers’ Rights, Food Security, Group Says" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.