Seeds Law: which voices are being heard?

On the law of Seeds, which is being discussed in the Congress of Argentina, from Bioleft team we express the urgent need to generate an open and participatory debate about the possible directions of this change and its consequences.

The seeds are the main input of agricultural production, of fundamental importance for our country. However, they also fulfill other functions of great value, such as being a source of information for the development of new seeds; be reservoirs of conservation of biological, social and cultural diversity; and serve the transmission of knowledge from generation to generation and between communities. The bill that is being discussed at this time should protect all these functions, and not just the productive function over the others. Otherwise, the capacity of the system to regenerate continuously and face changes in the future, our technological autonomy, our capacity to protect our social and natural environment, and our food sovereignty will be put at risk.

We understand that a change is necessary since the existing system is failing to protect some of the functions of the seeds, due to the legal vacuum that currently generates the overlap between the patent system and the variety protection system by law of Seeds. However, it is alarming the urgency with which it is intended to pass the changes and the lack of information and dialogue on the subject, even among decision makers. Central actors for the discussion – from civil society, farmer associations, scientists, and researchers – have not been consulted, and only the voices of some stakeholders are being heard.

From Bioleft we propose to empower civil society as an alternative, through tools that foster collaborative improvement, but we understand that the institutional framework and state policies should take care of the public interest and not only that of some sectors of society.

Certainly there is no consensus today regarding the direction that the seed system should take in Argentina. We believe that this law is of great importance for the future of our seeds and, therefore, should be discussed and worked on considering its implications for all sectors and actors involved.