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PRESS RELEASE: East African Farmer & Civil Society Organisations Criticise EAC Seed Bill – demand transparency, participation and inclusion of farmers’ rights

Press release

Arusha, Tanzania, 11th March 2019

We, East African farmer and civil society organisations, met in Arusha on 5th – 6th March 2019, to deliberate on the East African Community (EAC) Seed and Plant Varieties Bill 2018 and its implications for smallholder farmers and their seed systems. The rationale given for the Bill is that this will create a conducive environment for improving regional availability of seed and planting materials. However, we are convinced that this proposed law will displace local seed systems, further entrench inequalities and corporate capture of food and seed systems, and marginalise the rural poor, especially women. We therefore demand that policymakers ensure transparency, public consultation and the inclusion of farmers’ rights to save, reuse, share, exchange and sell all seed in their seed and farming systems.

Reflections on ITPGRFA, UPOV 1991 and South Africa


Recently the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) held national consultations on whether South Africa should accede to two international agreements related to seed: The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA, or the Treaty) and the International Convention on the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV) 1991.

UPOV 1991 and the ITPGRFA: Key issues for farmer managed seed systems in South Africa

Briefing paper

The South African government has called upon stakeholders to submit comments and attend stakeholder meetings on the 23rd and 24th October 2018, on the implications of South Africa acceding to the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 1991) and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGFRA).