Civil Society Denounces World Bank’s Scheme to Hijack Farmers’ Rights to Seeds

20 January by Oakland Institute

CC - Flickr - CIAT

Oakland, CA – Ahead of World Bank World Bank
WB
The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries.

It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which :

1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, 189 members in 2017), which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ;

2. The International Development Association (IDA, 159 members in 1997), which provides less advanced countries with long-term loans (35-40 years) at very low interest (1%) ;

3. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries.

As Third World Debt gets worse, the World Bank (along with the IMF) tends to adopt a macro-economic perspective. For instance, it enforces adjustment policies that are intended to balance heavily indebted countries’ payments. The World Bank advises those countries that have to undergo the IMF’s therapy on such matters as how to reduce budget deficits, round up savings, enduce foreign investors to settle within their borders, or free prices and exchange rates.

http://worldbank.org
’s release of the 2017 “Enabling the Business of Agriculture” (EBA EBA
European Banking Authority
The body charged with supervising the European banking system and, along with two other authorities, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), form part of the European System of Financial Supervision.

EBA : https://www.esma.europa.eu/
) report this month, 157 organizations and academics from around the world denounce the Bank’s scheme to hijack farmers’ right to seeds, attack on food sovereignty and the environment.

In a letter to the World Bank World Bank
WB
The World Bank was founded as part of the new international monetary system set up at Bretton Woods in 1944. Its capital is provided by member states’ contributions and loans on the international money markets. It financed public and private projects in Third World and East European countries.

It consists of several closely associated institutions, among which :

1. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, 189 members in 2017), which provides loans in productive sectors such as farming or energy ;

2. The International Development Association (IDA, 159 members in 1997), which provides less advanced countries with long-term loans (35-40 years) at very low interest (1%) ;

3. The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provides both loan and equity finance for business ventures in developing countries.

As Third World Debt gets worse, the World Bank (along with the IMF) tends to adopt a macro-economic perspective. For instance, it enforces adjustment policies that are intended to balance heavily indebted countries’ payments. The World Bank advises those countries that have to undergo the IMF’s therapy on such matters as how to reduce budget deficits, round up savings, enduce foreign investors to settle within their borders, or free prices and exchange rates.

http://worldbank.org
President Jim Yong Kim and EBA EBA
European Banking Authority
The body charged with supervising the European banking system and, along with two other authorities, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), form part of the European System of Financial Supervision.

EBA : https://www.esma.europa.eu/
’s five Western donors, the group demands the immediate end of the project, originally requested by the G8 G8 Group composed of the most powerful countries of the planet: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the USA, with Russia a full member since June 2002. Their heads of state meet annually, usually in June or July. to support its industry-co- opted New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.

“The EBA dictates so-called ‘good practices’ to regulate agriculture and scores countries on how well they implement its prescriptions,” said Frederic Mousseau, Policy Director at the Oakland Institute. “But the EBA has become the latest tool, to push pro-corporate agricultural policies, notably in the seed sector – where it promotes industrial seeds, that benefit a handful of agrochemical companies,” he continued.

Only six multinationals currently control over two-thirds of the industrial seed sales, and pending agro-industry mergers stand to further consolidate this oligopoly. Further market expansion for these corporations depends on the shrinking of farmer-managed seed systems, which currently provide 80 to 90 percent of the seed supply in developing countries through on-farm seed saving and farmer-to- farmer seed exchange.

A new report, Down On the Seed, the World Bank Enables Corporate Takeover of Seeds, exposes that while the World Bank claims to promote “smart and balanced policies,” its EBA index blatantly ignores farmer-managed seed systems. Instead, it reinforces the stranglehold of agrochemical companies and Western nations by pushing for intellectual property rights in agriculture, so that private breeders profiteer from the use of their seeds by farmers.

The EBA also awards the best scores to countries that ease private companies –not the farmers – access to public gene banks. In addition, the Bank recommends that governments reduce the time and cost necessary to register industrial seeds, with the private sector as the predominant force on the national committees that oversee the introduction of new varieties.

“The EBA reforms aim to foster the privatization of seed systems, regardless of the consequences for farmers and the planet,” said Alice Martin-Prevel, author of the report, Down on the Seed. “The reduction of farmers as passive consumers of industrial seeds undermines their contribution to agro- biodiversity, which is crucial to mitigate pests, disease, and the effects of climate change. It also disempowers farmers, while failing to protect them in increasingly concentrated markets.”

In its 2016 EBA report, the World Bank upheld Tanzania as a model country for enacting intellectual property laws in agriculture, and becoming the first least-developed nation bound by the 1991 UPOV Convention. UPOV is a pro-industry treaty that dramatically restricts farmers’ rights to save, exchange, and sell seeds. Under Tanzania’s seed laws, farmers now risk fines and imprisonment for practicing ancestral seed saving and trading Market activities
trading
Buying and selling of financial instruments such as shares, futures, derivatives, options, and warrants conducted in the hope of making a short-term profit.
, and are being forced to rely on industrial varieties.

“The Bank, behind closed doors, convinces governments to implement reforms based on the EBA scores, thereby bypassing farmers and citizens’ engagement,” said Mousseau. “The signatories to the petition are demanding an end of the EBA as a step to enable the full participation of farmers and rural communities in agricultural policymaking. This participation is essential for development to be inclusive and to tackle the challenge of food insecurity and rural poverty around the world.”

The report : https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/si...


OAKLAND INSTITUTE

January 18, 2017

Media Contact: Frederic Mousseau, fmousseau@oaklandinstitute.org, +1 510-512-5458

The Oakland Institute is an independent policy think tank, bringing fresh ideas and bold action to the most pressing social, economic, and environmental issues of our time.

Learn more about the Our Land Our Business Campaign at https://www.oaklandinstitute.org/ou...


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