Sheepskin rugs by milabert – reindeer hides – all natural wool and lamb skin.

Farmers’ Rights – Resource Pages for Decision-Makers And Practitioners (website)

This website is about Farmers’ Rights as they are addressed in the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Farmers’ Rights are basically about enabling farmers to continue their work as stewards and innovators of agricultural biodiversity, and about recognizing and rewarding them for their contribution to the global pool of genetic resources.

Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog

Report on Success Stories from the Realization of Farmers’ Rights (report)

This is a collection of 17 inspiring stories illustrating the achievements already made in implementing Article 9 of the International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The success stories are sorted into four categories of achievements: The realization of Farmers’ Rights to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed; protection of traditional knowledge related to agricultural biodiversity; participation in benefit sharing and in decision-making.

The Sustainable Use of Agrobiodiversity in Italy (report)

IAO Report of case studies on the implementation of Article 6 of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

Farm Seed Opportunities: Opportunities for farm-seed conservation, breeding and production (European research project)

i. Report on policy recommendations for on-farm conservation strategy, the role of innovative market mechanisms, legislative framework for landraces, conservation varieties and amateur varieties in Europe (report)

ii. Report on the analysis of the bottlenecks and ?challenges identified for on-farm maintenance and breeding in European agricultural conditions (report)

Agriculture at a Crossroads : International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (report)

Recommendations : “creating or strengthening conditions that can guarantee farmers’ rights to choose, select, and exchange seeds that are culturally and locally appropriate as well as to remove the monopoly from the privileges granted to breeders through Plant Breeders Rights through, for example, a compensatory liability regime. Increasing support for public sector research to deliver public goods is important to meet development and sustainability goals, along with implementation of farmers’ rights to seeds to enhance conservation of agricultural biodiversity.”

“Developments are needed that build trust and that value farmer knowledge, agricultural and natural biodiversity; farmer-managed medicinal plants, local seed systems.”

IAASTD – 22 Key Findings at a Glance (article)

Building Resilience: a human rights framework for world food and nutrition security – Report presented by Olivier de Schutter, Special Rapporteur on Food, to the Human Rights Council, September 2008 (report)

On conclusions of the IAASTD Report : “The report found that technological innovations in agriculture have generally favoured large-scale producers, and their costs have been borne by small scale producers, their communities and the environment. The IAASTD report strongly supported the potential of small-scale producers in agricultural development, pointing to the need for dedicated support for smallholders if this potential is to be achieved, and to the need to avoid dependency on expensive inputs such as inorganic fertilizers whose prices are closely aligned with those of oil, or on patented seeds. In order to reduce vulnerability in the food system, it recommended relying on locally-based knowledge, innovations, policies and investments. Participatory Plant Breeding and Farmer-Researcher groups – not exogenous technologies – were specifically highlighted as models for successfultechnological development. The IAASTD identified several areas ripe for investment and public research, among them, low-input and organic systems, biological substitutes for agrochemicals, site-specific easily adaptable cultivars, local seed systems, and reducing the dependency of agriculture on fossil fuels.”

On intellectual property rights: “It should be noted that nowhere has the protection of intellectual property rights on plant varieties or seeds been identified as a potential source of concern. But, as explained in detail in the first report of the Special Rapporteur submitted to the General Assembly, regimes that prevent farmers from re-using and exchanging seeds can have serious implications for farmers’ ability to continue farming and for agricultural biodiversity, and thus for the world’s capacity to ensure sustainable food production over the long term.”

The Right to Food – Seed policies and the right to food: Enhancing agrobiodiversity, encouraging innovation, Report presented by Olivier de Schutter, Special Rapporteur on Food, presented at the 64th session of the UN General Assembly, July 2009 (report)

Gene Giants Stockpile Patents on “Climate-ready” Crops in Bid to become “Biomassters”: Patent Grab Threatens Biodiversity, Food Sovereignty (ETC Group Report, October 2010) (report)

The six largest agrochemical and seed corporations are filing sweeping, multi-genome patents in pursuit of exclusive monopoly over plant gene sequences that could lead to control of most of the world’s plant biomass – whether it is used for food, feed, fiber, fuel or plastics. Under the guise of developing “climate-ready” crops,  the companies are pressuring governments to allow what could become the broadest and most dangerous patent claims in intellectual property history.

“Climate-Smart” Agriculture: Policies, Practices and Financing for Food Security, Adaptation and Mitigation – The Hague Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change, FAO, 2010 (conference paper)

*Box** 22**: Informal seed systems and climate change* (excerpt)

Most farmers in developing countries access their seeds from what is known as the “informal seed system”.Essentially this includes all non-certified seed sources, which is primarily farmers’ own saved seed, but also includes seed obtained through exchanges through social networks or in rural markets. Advantages of the informal seed system are low costs and ease of access. In traditional systems of seed exchange, trust and reciprocity are essential to the functioning of the system and they serve to ensure quality standards. In general these networks are confined to a very local level, with little interchange with outside sources. Recent research work by FAO indicates that for many crops, local agricultural markets are becoming an increasingly important source of seeds in the informal sector, and these include exchanges of seeds sourced both locally and from external sources. However often there is a lack of information on the quality and genetic content of varieties, support is therefore required in generating this information to assist farmers in selecting the appropriate seeds, including those that may have attributes important for climate change. This may include organizing local seed and genetic diversity fairs, alternative labeling systems such as quality declared seed or farmer-based labeling schemes, and certification and training of traders. *Source: *Lipper *et al. *2009.

Who Owns Nature? Corporate Power and the Final Frontier in the Commodification of Life , ETC Group Report, 2008  (publication)

Who Owns Nature? reports on daunting trends in corporate concentration and technology convergence, but it also points to a very different reality and a powerful contrast to the corporate-controlled life sciences. Although a single company – Monsanto – accounts for almost one-quarter of proprietary seed sales, about three-quarters of the world’s farmers routinely save seed from their harvest and grow locally-bred varieties. Wal-Mart may be the world’s largest buyer and seller of retail food, but 85% of global food is consumed close to where it is grown – much of it outside the formal market system.

European Food Declaration (declaration)

We, the undersigned, believe that the European Union needs to meet the urgent challenges Europe is facing regarding food and agriculture.

After more than a half-century of industrialisation of agriculture and food production, sustainable family farming and local food cultures have been substantially reduced in Europe. Today, our food system is dependent on under-priced fossil fuels, does not recognize the limitations of water and land resources, and supports unhealthy diets high in calories, fat and salt, and low in fruit, vegetables and grains. Looking ahead, rising energy costs, drastic losses in biodiversity, climate change and declining water and land resources threaten the future of food production. At the same time, a growing world population faces the potential dual burden of widespread hunger and chronic diseases due to overconsumption.

We will only be able to address these challenges successfully with a completely different approach to food and agriculture policies and practices. The European Union must recognize and support the crucial role of sustainable family farming in the food supply of the population. All people should have access to healthy, safe, and nutritious food. The ways in which we grow, distribute, prepare and eat food should celebrate Europe?s cultural diversity, providing sustenance equitably and sustainably.

The present Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) is currently being debated and is due for change in 2013. After decades of the domination by transnational corporations and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in determining food and agriculture policy, it is time for people in Europe to re-appropriate agriculture and food policy: it is time for food sovereignty. We believe a new Common Food and Agriculture Policy should guarantee and protect citizens? space in the EU and candidate countries and their ability and right to define their own models of production, distribution and consumption following the principles outlined below.

Collective rights over farmers’ seeds in Italy (article, GRAIN)

In Italy, eight of the 18 administrative regions have adopted their own laws on local genetic resources since 1997. They generally aim to protect and promote traditional plant varieties and animal breeds in local farming systems as a heritage of the region. Since 2000, when the regional law of Latium was adopted, they also establish collective rights over the local genetic heritage. Below is an extract from an interview with Antonio Onorati, President of the Italian development NGO Crocevia, who has been very much involved in this movement. This segment focuses on the experience with collective rights in Italy and strategy ideas for protecting farmers’ seeds in Europe.

Mission Biodiversity- Conference Report on Agricultural Biodiversity in Poland (report, edition 2009, bilingual in Polish and English, by the Association for Old Breeds and Varieties)

EcoRuralis – is a grassroots association in Romania made up of small farmers who practice organic and traditional farming. It stands for farmers’ right to practice environmentally friendly agriculture. This includes the right to use, multiply and distribute traditional seeds, the pursuit of strict biosafety regulations (without genetically modified organisims); the preservation of food sovereignty in Romania; and respect for consumer health. (Ecoruralis website, Romanian and English)/ EcoRuralis on traditional seeds (article in Romanian)

Information about the conservation and renewal of agricultural biodiversity and other related issues in Hungary:

Second FAO Report on the State of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture – Country Report : Hungary (report)

Landscape management, local varieties, conservation of genetic diversity -Parliamentary Open Day, Budapest, May 2009

The issues of “Landscape management, local varieties, conservation of genetic diversity” have been discussed in an open session of the Parliament on 22 May 2009 with the participation of Hungarian actors involved in the conservation of genetic diversity as well as international experts invited to reflect on global correlations.  Proposals made address both the conservation of genetic diversity in gene banks (ex-situ) and on-farm  in-situ maintenance and use of varieties guided by the principles of food sovereignty.  (Parliamentary Open Day Declaration)

Participatory Action Research for Conserving Crop Genetic Resources: The Őrség Region in Hungary, Environmental Social Science Research Group, Szent István University of Agricultural Sciences, 2006 (research paper)

Local Food Systems in Europe: FAAN – European research project (final report)

Case studies from five countries – Hungary, Poland, Austria, France, UK – and what they imply for policy and practice