The Zambia Alliance for Agro-Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation has called on government not to sign the African Region Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) draft protocol on the protection of new plant varieties as it criminalizes small scale farmers’ rights to seed and threatens local food security.

The alliance made the call today during a media breakfast held at Chrisma Hotel in Lusaka.
The alliance says the protocol if signed will also undermine the national seed and food sovereignty.

Alliance Chairperson Emmanuel Mutamba in a presentation said the protocol will also kill the practice of freely saving, exchanging and selling indigenous seeds by small scale farmers and will instead be monopolized by multinational seed companies.

Mr. Mutamba said the alliance’s concerns are that any decision that undermines the country’s agriculture system and affects small scale farmers who are the major producers of the bulk of the food should not be entertained.

From June 29th to 1st July 2015, a Diplomatic Conference of the African Regional Intellectual property organization (ARIPO) will take place in Arusha, Tanzania where the draft Plant Varity Protocol is expected to be adopted, and Zambia being a member is expected to sign.

Mr. Mutamba noted that the country has already in place a well-developed seed regulation and legislation system through the 2007 plant breeders’ rights act which is more inclusive and safe guards’ national interest.

Mr. Mutamba explained that the draft ARIPO protocol is inconsistent with the Zambian act as it accommodates the demand of industries from developed countries particularly Europe.

He said these industries, once given a chance, will monopolize the seed industry and put to an end the tradition of recycling seed which is very popular among rural farmers.

Mr. Mutamba pointed out that there is need for the Zambian government to join calls to have the ARIPO diplomatic conference postponed indefinitely until all the contentious issues raised by farmers in the affected countries are resolved.

And speaking during the same function, Rolf Shenton, a conservationist said the world was today facing an environmental crisis as communities were not looking after the environment properly.

Mr. Shenton said failure to adhere messages of caring for the environment is now leading to the current climate change effects being experienced.

He said the Zambian seed market is been targeted by many multinational companies because of its business potential.

“Zambian should guard against agreements that disadvantage poor farmers and the environment. Such companies if not stopped, will lead to the complete abandoning of the traditional open pollenated seeds which are more environmentally friendly and healthy,” said Mr. Shenton.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. I salute these guys on this one we don’t need these good for nothing so called ngos. Hope the gvt will take this timely advise serious.

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    • Your comment does not make sense. You do know who the Zambia Alliance for Agro-Ecology and Biodiversity Conservation is, right?

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  2. You think so.
    OK let me ask u this question, what value do think the very organisation will bring to Zambians
    If u answer this ? then I will elaborate more on y am totally against it whether Zambian or not.

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    • I think that you are contradicting yourself here.
      You seem encouraging the fact that government should take this timely advise serious, and on the other hand you are saying that they (the NGO’s who issued these statements) are good for nothing.
      This does not add up (to me that is).

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  3. Bwana Ndobo you are not intelligent. You don’t know what you are saying. I live in America and Americans are crying for having signed such protocols and we have corporations like MONSATO that have monopoly over seeds and they produce only GMO’s because no one can say anything. These people they know what they are saying. Just sit down somewhere and hide your ignorance.

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    • your generalizations expose your own narrow-mindedness/lack of open mindedness….try to listen, be receptive, not generalize: (‘ALL” Americans..?.) Speaking for yourself is clear, direct, and true; lumping together accusatory generalizations is not.

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  4. NO rush in this. NO signing…PERIOD. Why should we always do what the western world is doing? We are Africa. Why should someone come into your home and tell you not to save mealie meal to eat the following day?

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