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International Seeds Day: Its Time to Conserve, Protect & Revive Indigenous Seeds

Shivam Dwivedi
Shivam Dwivedi
International Seeds Day
International Seeds Day

For farmers, seed is life. The integrity and sanctity of every seed should be preserved and protected. Recognizing the importance of seeds, every year on 26th April 2021, International Seeds Day is celebrated. This day is advocating for patent-free seeds, organic food and farmers' rights and to challenge Order 81.

Historical Backgrounds:

Order 81 was signed on April 26, 2004 by Paul Bremer, the administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq to control Iraq's agriculture. The Order was a declaration of war against farmers. Article 14 of this law states "Farmers shall be prohibited from re-using seeds of protected varieties," Order 81 amends Iraq's original law No. 65 on patents, created in 1970. The most significant part of Order 81 is the subject of 'Plant Variety Protection' (PVP), which ensures not the protection of biodiversity, but rather the protection of the commercial interests of USA and European major seed corporations. In order to qualify for PVP, seeds have to be 'new, distinct, uniform and stable'. Therefore, the sort of seeds being encouraged to grow by corporations such as World Wide Wheat Company (WWWC), Monsanto and others will be those registered under PVP.

Importance of International Seeds Day:

  • Seed is the basic and most critical input for the sustainable agriculture. The response of all other inputs depends on the quality of seeds to a large extent. Therefore, seeds should be sovereign from all types of private ownership and also away from any technology that go against the sustainable growth of the planet.

  • To support a food production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. The need is to strengthen local production, consumption and marketing of organically grown food and products to ensure the health and wellness of the citizens and to provide income to farmers not only during this time of covid-19 crisis but as a mainstream alternative sustainable, reliable and earth-friendly food production system.

  • To preserve, exchange and share seeds amongst the farmers. Experiences from Green Revolution and GM crops have left organic farmers with no choice to grow their own indigenous varieties. Now farmers are losing their right to seed, right to grow and right to live by increasing dependence on the external markets increasing the cost of production, indebtedness ultimately leading to suicides.

  • To promote the organic agriculture and to stand with the organic farmers who strive hard to provide poison-free, GM-free diverse seeds and organically grown healthy food for today’s and our future generations to come.

  • To create the best environment for global movement of seed and promote plant breeding and innovation in the seed sector.

Therefore, International organizations, activists, organic food growers, farm owners and farmers around the world should join hand to advocate for patent-free seeds and biodiversity and to educate about the criminal practices by agricultural corporations and how their unjust laws have and will affect the future of agriculture. Let us support & promote the preservation of indigenous seeds as part of our culture and make our planet healthy!

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