Seeds

The 'seeds issue' was what got GRAIN started almost 30 years ago, and it is still a central area of work for us. The biodiversity in farmers' fields is eroding at alarming rates, while the corporate seed sector is reaching unprecedented levels of control through the push for hybrids, genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) and concentration. Across the world, governments are promoting or allowing restrictive seed and intellectual property laws that grant exclusive power to the corporate sector while limiting the possibilities of small farmers to save, exchange and further develop their own varieties. But equally all over the world, social movements are sprouting up and growing to challenge these developments and establish networks to conserve and use local materials. 

This programme area allows GRAIN to be part of this movement and contribute with research and information work, as well as capacity and movement building support.

Who profits under UPOV?

As UPOV has expanded, the global seed market has been taken over by a cartel of agrochemical companies. Today, just four of these companies control half of the US$47 billion seed market. They also control 75% of the global agrochemicals market. This is not a coincidence.

As UPOV has expanded, the global seed market has been taken over by a cartel of agrochemical companies. Today, just four of these companies control half of the US$47 billion seed market. They also control 75% of the global agrochemicals market. This is not a coincidence.

Golden Rice and the push for GMOs won’t solve food crisis, it will make it worse

The commercialisation of Golden Rice and the promotion and de-regulation of GMOs, including gene-edited crops, during a period of intense food crisis threatens to exacerbate inequality and contribute further to the loss of people’s food sovereignty – one of the main reasons why hundreds of millions remain food insecure today

The commercialisation of Golden Rice and the promotion and de-regulation of GMOs, including gene-edited crops, during a period of intense food crisis threatens to exacerbate inequality and contribute further to the loss of people’s food sovereignty – one of the main reasons why hundreds of millions remain food insecure today

GMOs in Asia : What’s happening and who’s fighting back?

Given society’s desperate need for solutions, the corporate sector hopes their GMOs can gain public support and easily dodge biosafety regulations. In Asia, where the promotion of GM plants and foods is being pushed forcefully not only by agribusiness, but also by publicly-funded institutions, this is resulting in the persistent change of laws, regulations and standards governing GMOs.

Given society’s desperate need for solutions, the corporate sector hopes their GMOs can gain public support and easily dodge biosafety regulations. In Asia, where the promotion of GM plants and foods is being pushed forcefully not only by agribusiness, but also by publicly-funded institutions, this is resulting in the persistent change of laws, regulations and standards governing GMOs.

It’s Africa vs African Union

Under a cloud of secrecy and haste, guidelines are set at AU to promote agrarian extractivism at the expense of food and seed sovereignty of an entire continent. They also situate farmers’ rights and farmer managed seed systems within a corporate seed environment and agenda. Processes like these at the AU provide a basis and affect other guidelines and seed regulatory frameworks at the continental and national processes.

Under a cloud of secrecy and haste, guidelines are set at AU to promote agrarian extractivism at the expense of food and seed sovereignty of an entire continent. They also situate farmers’ rights and farmer managed seed systems within a corporate seed environment and agenda. Processes like these at the AU provide a basis and affect other guidelines and seed regulatory frameworks at the continental and national processes.

Hands off our buffel grass! Kenyan herders resist the privatisation of their biodiversity

Buffel grass is essential to Kenya’s pastoralists. It can be used as fodder, thatching & more. But an individual’s patent risks taking it away from communities, highlighting why the privatisation of biodiversity must be fiercely resisted on the continent.

Buffel grass is essential to Kenya’s pastoralists. It can be used as fodder, thatching & more. But an individual’s patent risks taking it away from communities, highlighting why the privatisation of biodiversity must be fiercely resisted on the continent.

Trade deals pushing UPOV: an interactive map

A new map based on GRAIN’s dataset of signed FTAs in the past 20 years can help visualise which countries use free trade deals to push corporate control over seeds and which countries are under attack from these trade deals.

A new map based on GRAIN’s dataset of signed FTAs in the past 20 years can help visualise which countries use free trade deals to push corporate control over seeds and which countries are under attack from these trade deals.

Booklet | UPOV: the great seeds robbery

Peasants around the world are understanding what is at stake. The big companies and powerful governments that support UPOV, even with all their power, do not have it easy. Popular resistance is emerging everywhere. The following booklet explains in more detail what we are talking about.

Peasants around the world are understanding what is at stake. The big companies and powerful governments that support UPOV, even with all their power, do not have it easy. Popular resistance is emerging everywhere. The following booklet explains in more detail what we are talking about.

UPOV animation: The great seed robbery

To help you understand UPOV, we have a short animated video for you. It explains in a simple way how UPOV tries to appropriate and privatise seeds that have been developed over thousands of years by communities around the world, and why we should resist it and demand that it be dismantled.

To help you understand UPOV, we have a short animated video for you. It explains in a simple way how UPOV tries to appropriate and privatise seeds that have been developed over thousands of years by communities around the world, and why we should resist it and demand that it be dismantled.

To care for our seeds

A set of booklets that can help us understand what is behind the resolve to instate intellectual property and the privatization of seeds through pacts, conventions, agreements, laws, standards, norms, registries, and certifications; why so much effort is invested in pushing aside what has been humanity’s fundamental task for thousands of years.

A set of booklets that can help us understand what is behind the resolve to instate intellectual property and the privatization of seeds through pacts, conventions, agreements, laws, standards, norms, registries, and certifications; why so much effort is invested in pushing aside what has been humanity’s fundamental task for thousands of years.

Trade deals handing Japanese seeds to multinational corporations

Farmers, civil society and prominent figures in Japan have succeeded in temporarily postponing the amendment of the PVP Act, a major attempt against the public management of seeds. But what lies behind these efforts to amend the PVP Act? And is stopping the revision of the PVP Act enough?

Farmers, civil society and prominent figures in Japan have succeeded in temporarily postponing the amendment of the PVP Act, a major attempt against the public management of seeds. But what lies behind these efforts to amend the PVP Act? And is stopping the revision of the PVP Act enough?

Asia under threat of UPOV 91

The push for Asian countries to join UPOV – the Union for the protection of new plant varieties, a kind of patent system for seeds – or to follow its rules is raging today under the auspices of various trade negotiations. With up to 80% of all seeds used in Asia today still coming from farmers who save seeds from previous harvests, joining UPOV 1991 would be catastrophic. It compromises farmers’ freedom over their seeds and further consolidates the seed industry.

The push for Asian countries to join UPOV – the Union for the protection of new plant varieties, a kind of patent system for seeds – or to follow its rules is raging today under the auspices of various trade negotiations. With up to 80% of all seeds used in Asia today still coming from farmers who save seeds from previous harvests, joining UPOV 1991 would be catastrophic. It compromises farmers’ freedom over their seeds and further consolidates the seed industry.

Peasants caught in the industrial property backwater

Privatizing seeds, the first link in the food chain, seems to be the obsession of the seed industry, which would thus control all the world’s food. One of the battles on farmers' rights to their seeds will take place during the eighth meeting of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, in Rome, from 11 to 16 November 2019. The defence of peasant seed systems, which form the basis of the food supply for the majority of rural people, will be a central issue.

Privatizing seeds, the first link in the food chain, seems to be the obsession of the seed industry, which would thus control all the world’s food. One of the battles on farmers' rights to their seeds will take place during the eighth meeting of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, in Rome, from 11 to 16 November 2019. The defence of peasant seed systems, which form the basis of the food supply for the majority of rural people, will be a central issue.

What's wrong with biofortified crops? The fight for genuine solutions to malnutrition is on

GRAIN and friends issue a call to action; inviting women's groups and peasant organisations to examine the issue of biofortification—locally, regionally, nationally or globally. We think there is enough information and experience to justify a boycott of all biofortified crops and foods, coupled with demands for investment in a different approach to agricultural research based on agroecology, local culture and food sovereignty.

GRAIN and friends issue a call to action; inviting women's groups and peasant organisations to examine the issue of biofortification—locally, regionally, nationally or globally. We think there is enough information and experience to justify a boycott of all biofortified crops and foods, coupled with demands for investment in a different approach to agricultural research based on agroecology, local culture and food sovereignty.

Biofortified crops or biodiversity? The fight for genuine solutions to malnutrition is on

GRAIN took a look at the current status of biofortification in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the emerging critiques from feminist perspectives and food sovereignty movements. What we found is a worrisome push for a top-down and anti-diversity approach to food and health that may ultimately undermine people’s capacities to strengthen their local food systems.

GRAIN took a look at the current status of biofortification in Asia, Africa and Latin America and the emerging critiques from feminist perspectives and food sovereignty movements. What we found is a worrisome push for a top-down and anti-diversity approach to food and health that may ultimately undermine people’s capacities to strengthen their local food systems.

“Seeds in resistance” comic

We share Seeds in resistance, a comic made from the animation documentary “Semillas, ¿Bien común o propiedad corporativa? [Seeds: common good or corporate property] published in 2017 by a collective of Latin-American organisations who work through all the continent in defence of native and indigenous seeds seeking a food sovereignty for the peoples.

We share Seeds in resistance, a comic made from the animation documentary “Semillas, ¿Bien común o propiedad corporativa? [Seeds: common good or corporate property] published in 2017 by a collective of Latin-American organisations who work through all the continent in defence of native and indigenous seeds seeking a food sovereignty for the peoples.