I’m doing a prerecorded online presentation to the V Congresso Nacional de Alimentos e Nutrição, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, at 8:00 p.m. on my book Unsavory Truth (Um Verdade Indigesta). Information about the conference is here. It runs from October 4 to 8.
No patents on seeds!
Carmelo Ruiz, who blogs about agricultural issues from his bilingual base in Puerto Rico, sends information about the “no- patents-on-seeds” coalition. This group of European advocates for open sharing of seeds and breeding methods has produced an excellent new report: The Future of Seeds and Food. Here is a terrific summary of the current patent situation, the growing concentration of the seed industry, the legal situation (not pretty), and ideas for doing something about it.
Patents, says the report, block innovation and access to essential genetic resources, and they “foster market concentration, hamper competition, and serve to promote unjust monopoly rights.” To address world hunger, open systems of plant and animal breeding would work much better.
If you, as I do, find issues of genetic patenting uncomfortably arcane, check out this report. It makes clear why such patents matter and why something urgently needs to be done about them in Europe as well as in the U.S.