“Global Consultation on Farmers Right on seed at ITPGRFA”
Indonesia Bali, 24 – 26 September 2016
We from Five National Farmer Organizations, representing 3.363,000 Farmers Household in Indonesia organized within National Farmers Consultative Body or Badan Musyawarah Tani Indonesia (BAMUSTANI) realize that seeds needed to grow in many agricultural activities in order to feed and support humans’ life have been growing symbiotically for thousands of years. Seeds grow from nature in diverse, preserved, conserved and improved through experimentation process by human, by farmer in particular, through a long process of invention and innovation. Seeds have been improved and grown by traditional knowledge and culture, transformed and inherited from generation to generation. Therefore, seeds are farmers’ collective heritage to serve humankind. Farmers and indigenous people have always been guardian of collective knowledge planted within seeds diversity that have made possible for the growth of human as a species.
Historical facts showed that farmers are true owner, predecessor and preserver of seeds as genetic resources; with inherent rights and ownership on those seeds.
Yet, greed of a group of people who hold political and economic power have been threatening the continuation of conservation, reproduction and utilization of bio-diversity. Enforced exploitation on land and other natural resources which have been converted to the control of capital owner is a disaster for nature and humankind. This have and will have continuously caused migration and social dislocation, harming social order, breaking relationship between farmers and land and social consolidation. Collective assets which are hold by several people or group will harm smallholder farmers.
There is a new and stronger threat on natural resources and seeds, as well as to agricultural bio-diversity heritage and related knowledge. Advanced legal process and policy making in Europe, United States, and other part of the world are now being forced to Southern developing countries through trade agreement and binding multilateral and bilateral investments. They are based on legal system that provide exclusive rights on seeds as fake assumption. In reality, ‘invented’ and improved plant variety are the product of collective improvement as old as history, and maintained by farmers. Recognition on exclusive rights by corporation on all plant variety based on minor adjustment is a direct thievery.
Attempts to expand seeds variety takeover to Southern hemisphere are aggressively pursued by multinational seed corporations and research institutions which are directly or indirectly affiliated to those corporations through national and multilateral institutions such as WTO, UPOV, TPP, CBD, etc. These are new form of colonialism in form of political control by coordinated technocrats, in order to enforced cruel, homogenous law and regulation by supporting intellectual property (IP) such as Union for the Protection of new Varieties of Plants (UPOV), Protection on Plant Variety (PPV) for personal gain, the proliferation of genetically modified (GM) seed, and the recognition of exclusive rights and marketing of varieties of seeds and plants pass seeding system and production which are tightly controlled by the elite group(s).
Farmers and farmer households, that characterized Indonesian agricultural and general society, do not benefit from the development of “MONOPOLIZED” exclusive right system on seeds. This will only trigger more gap in which, in the name of productivity and protected rights, elite control seeds distribution.
For several decades, corporations and developed countries have offered concept of exclusive right system to help agriculture development and to solve world hunger problem. In fact, the system make seeds more expensive, higher production cost, environmental damage, no significant production improvement, higher threat of hunger in Southern hemisphere, decreased bio-diversity (API’s research report, 2011), These showed that IP, UPOV, TPP, TRIPs, and WTO system have negative effect on the fulfillment of farmers’ right, on environmental conservation, on farmers’ and food sovereignty, and on economical disparity. Moreover, the systems is a new form of colonialism through controlling seed varieties to create political, economic, and social dependence among majority of world population to a minority group of people.
A historical practice of seed breeding system, maintained within specific context (local wisdom) relied on by farmers, have been maligned as retarded, obsolete and criminalized. Farmers are brought to court and sentenced to jails for defending biological basis as livelihood system. Meanwhile, food and seed corporations that generate huge profit are legitimized by legal system on seeds such as Intelectual Property right (IP), Plant variety protection and Plant Cultivation System, and multilateral agreements.
Protection on monopolized right of seeds and prohibition on the use of its derivative and seeds certification process are beyond the ability and reach of smallholder farmers, a form of deprivation on farmers’ right on seeds.
Resulted from situations mentioned above: there have been worrying erosion on agricultural bio-diversity and tradition knowledge on those resources. There have been also serious threat on the utilization of sustainable genetic resources, consequently affecting food supply, and environmental and social balance. Today, Intellectual Property Right and its derivative regulations on seeds are putting aside a culture of seed exchange between farmers as the backbone of sustainable agricultural system, seed preservation and people’s sovereignty and human rights on food. Farmer organizations, individuals, universities, and experts who have concerns on these issues should not only passively stand and watch the legalized robbery and the potential damaged it may cause.
We, five Farmer Organizations, namely: Aliansi Petani Indonesia (API), Serikat Petani Indonesia (SPI), Ikatan Petani Pengendali Hama Terpadu Indonesia (IPPHTI), Wahana Masyarakat Tani dan Nelayan Indonesia (WAMTI), Serikat Nelayan Indonesia (SNI); representing 3,363,000 farmers in Indonesia:
Tanjung Benoa, 26 September 2016
Leaders of Indonesian Farmer Organizations
Muhammad Nur Uddin
Aliansi Petani Indonesia
Serikat Petani Indonesia
Serikat Nelayan Indonesia
 Nur Uddin, Muhammad and Muhammad Rifai (2011). Implications of Policy on Seeding And Contract Farming Against the Loss of Biodiversity and Farmers Rights. Case Study on Corn Growers in Kediri and Malang. Aliansi Petani Indonesia.