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     Home > Justice and Peace >  2014-02-12 17:13:05
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Sri Lankan farmers speak out against seed law

Feb.12,2014: In Sri Lanka, civic rights groups and farmers on Tuesday called on the government to drop a proposed law regulating seeds and other planting material, saying it will badly impact farmers’ rights and biodiversity. They also claim it aims only to benefit large multinational firms. Under the new law, all farmers would have to be registered, and all seed and planting material such as fertilizers certified by a special office run by the Department of Agriculture. This would give the government the exclusive right to specify seed and planting material. Farmers say this would undermine the rights of small-scale farmers who would be forced to buy seed from large multinational firms at higher prices. “This proposed act gives the right of seed varieties to monopolistic multinational firms and will increase the domination of multinational seed companies,” said Chinthaka Rajapaksha, co-convener of the National Movement for Protection of Seed Rights, an umbrella organization of 700 agricultural rights groups. “The bill will give power to a special committee to raid farms in search of illegal seeds,” he said, adding that this form of legislation has badly affected small scale famers in other parts of the world. But the government says the law will protect and conserve indigenous seed and planting material.
Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Minister of Agriculture told ucanews.com that the proposed law is to protect and regulate the quality of seed and planting materials to protect the rights of users.
However the farmers at Tuesday’s meeting said they would petition the agricultural minister and other government officials to protect farmers’ rights to continue using their own seeds and fertilizers.
Source: Ucan


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