Civil society’s concerns over inclusion of UPOV 1991 in the RCEP negotiation, given to the trade negotiators of the 16 RCEP negotiating countries during the stakeholder consultation meeting hosted by the RCEP negotiators in Hyderabad, India on July 25, 2917.
My name is Mongkon, on behalf of Alternative Agriculture Network and FTA Watch, Thailand.
Like TPP, RCEP requires countries to be a party of UPOV 1991.
In the past 50 years since Green Revolution begin, peasant agriculture has donated 2.1 million varieties to gene banks, around the world. At the same time, seed companies have contributed just only 80,000 varieties.
We, representing peasant and small-scale food producers who feed the world’s population including you and your children, reject all articles related to UPOV 1991 and other articles that allow corporations to have full control of seeds that will destroy our biodiversity.
Based on a study, it indicates that Thailand and other Asian countries must not sign an FTA with a provision forcing the trade partners to comply with UPOV 1991.
Variety of plants, seeds and biodiversity of these countries will be destroyed, if they become part of this convention. It will also open door for food and agricultural companies to make profit by applying alike patent system and have monopoly control over crops and seed varieties.
Direct impacts of UPOV 1991 on peasant and those who produce food will be:
- In Thailand, for instance, prices of seeds will be increased 3 – 4 times and it will cost 80,000 million -140 million baht per year,
- Peasant will not allow to breed, develop and keep the seed for their next season. They are subjected to criminal punishments. In the other word, UPOV 1991 violates the rights of peasants that enshrined in State Constitution and also in different international human rights laws including International Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
- It extends the patent terms of seeds and crop at least 5 to 10 years. This means the corporations will be able to make longer profit at the cost of lives of peasant and small-scale food producers, and
- UPOV 1991 will only empower and benefit seeds companies, pesticide and herbicide companies, food processing companies, not the people.
With these facts, RCEP and UPOV 1991 will destroy peasant, indigenous peoples, small-scale food producers. It will allow the private agro-companies to steal seeds, biodiversity and knowledges from people who are the majority in the countries. Patent on seeds and biodiversity and UPOV 1991 is now on the table of negotiation of the destructive free trade agreement, RCEP.