This is a statement of the Network in Defense of Corn against the attempt to approve a reform to the Federal Law of Plant Varieties (LFVV) in Mexico.
Therefore it is a rejection to the LFVV but also to the Agreement version 91 of the International Union of Protection of Plant Procurement (UPOV), an “agreement contrary to all legal logic, because a small group of large producers — largely corporations — at the international level granted themselves the prerogative of appropriating plant varieties, excluding the possibility of free utilization by the rest of people and communities that dedicate themselves to agriculture, who have domesticated these plants and entrusted them to humanity.”
Finally it is a rejection of the free trade agreements which seek to condition their acceptance of this legal aberration of UPOV, contrary to biodiversity and the autonomy of the peoples.
29th of June of 2020
Network in Defense of Corn
SEEDS ARE A COMMON GOOD
WE REJECT THE FEDERAL LAW OF PLANT VARIETIES
To the national and international public opinion:
Once again, as we expressed on the 29th of November of 2019, we claim our categorical rejection of the reform of the Federal Law of Plant Varieties (LFVV) that Congressman Eraclio Rodríguez of Morena introduced. https://tinyurl.com/y93j4eon
There we expressed the central arguments of our rejection, insisting that the LFVV entails the grave intent to “privatize, hoard both commercial and non-commercial seeds in general and criminalize the saving and exchange of peasant seeds in an affront to food sovereignty.”
As we well know the laws of plant varieties are modes of anchoring the operation and advances of the Convention of the International Union for the Protection of Plant Procurement (UPOV): “an agreement contrary to all legal logic, because a small group of large producers — largely corporations — at the international level granted themselves the prerogative of appropriating plant varieties, excluding the possibility of free utilization by the rest of people and communities that dedicate themselves to agriculture, who have domesticated these plants and entrusted them to humanity.”
This, which should be unconscionable, has been gaining momentum, and not the free trade agreements impose adherence to this Convention in its 91st version as a requirement. But the treaties open a space in order to comply with said adherence, and the T-MEC gives a period of 4 years for the country to comply with UPOV 91. And the TPP (Trans- Pacific Partnership) and the TLCUEM (Free Trade Agreement with the European Union) are pushing for the same.
However, Congressman Rodriguez has been insisting that the approval of this law is a requirement for the approval of the T-MEC. This is categorically false, as other congresspeople and investigators have already insisted. https://tinyurl.com/yc9vrj8m)
Nor should we think that with rejecting the approval of this law the issue of seeds was postponed in the T-MEC, as some media have feasted upon without understanding what is at stake. Tampoco debemos pensar que con rechazar la aprobación de esta ley el asunto de las semillas quedó pospuesto en el T-MEC, como algunos medios han festinado sin entender qué está en juego. (https://tinyurl.com/ya8ayd9d, https://tinyurl.com/y7re98t2 )
For us the problem continues to be urgente and grave. The T-MEC is, as we have said before, an instrument of diversion of power that seeks to subject us to the arbitrariness of obscure compromises, behind the backs of the mexican population, and that suddenly threatens us with its regulations and clauses without regard for the opinion of the indigenous peoples, the peasant communities or the people of the city who equally will suffer the consequences.
So much so, that the United States trade representative, Robert Lighthiser, is already threatening to subject Mexico to a state-to-state controversy so that the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) is pressured to complete the approval procedures of agricultural biotechnology, which implies that the United States insists on imposing not only rights of procurement and patents as a process of privatization of seeds, and the aberrant prohibition that peasants replant the seed that they already bought, but that it seeks to impose biotechnological crops on us, under penalty that Mexico will be sued before a court that is foreign to the national legal structure. (https://tinyurl.com/yb8c92j3)
In this context, we must totally reject the Law of Plant Varieties, and not just postpone its approval. It is a law contrary to the natural logic of 10,00 years of agriculture.
Its definition of which are “plant varieties” is biased and with its ambiguity seeks to make native and creole seeds susceptible to appropriation.
Instead of recognizing the value and importance of the domestication and continuous diversification of the seeds in a millennial way, these laws and the entire UPOV system wants to sell us the idea that this diversification implies an “innovation” or even an invention, a procurement that deserves property rights, when in reality these acquisitions are the most brutal expressions of biopiracy of millenary knowledges, conversations, and practices of the peoples with Nature, and with seeds.
We must also reject the UPOV system as a whole, even though some sectors of the population think that the UPOV 78 is acceptable. The Network in Defense of Corn is very clear that all the laws that seek to impose intellectual property over plants legitimize this handful of seed companies that want to bring the world to its knees with its restrictive plant breeders’ rights and patents, and its dominion of the market.
We must also begin a process of challenging free trade agreements that are no more than instruments so that the people cannot defend themselves from what the corporations and governments seek to impose on them.
Basically, with these laws, (as the Network in Defense of Corn has been saying already for many years) the aim is to put an end to independent agriculture.
Their absurd laws are not what should govern the life of the communities and the peoples. Who do they think they are to come and impose upon us?
Only by respecting our self-determination and our autonomy will we be defending the freedom of seeds and the responsibility of caring for them.
Network in Defense of Corn