RAFI offers a detailed, critical analysis of re-structuring options for the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), and advice for farmer-led food security. Is CGIAR prepared to make major structural and governance changes in order to salvage public sector agricultural science?
In Search of Common Ground
Negotiations on the revised International Undertaking at FAO will profoundly affect the world's ability to respond to climate change. Failure will lead to a rapid reduction in the exchange of plant breeding stocks between countries and institutions. Agricultural research will be severely damaged. RAFI looks at the major issues and controversies under discussion in the final rounds of negotiations.
RAFI's Annual Update on Terminator and Traitor
Terminator patent portfolios are changing hands because the Gene Giants are consolidating, spinning off, and selling agbiotech interests. New patents describing genetically modified plants with weakened immune systems that depend on the application of a chemical to regain their natural defenses against pests and disease are the most troubling examples of Traitor technology to date.
What's in the GM pipeline? How will it work? Who will control it? What does it mean for farmers, consumers and policymakers?
Biotech's 3rd Generation refers to products that will offer perceived health, nutrition or lifestyle benefits for consumers. The lure of a technologically-integrated $15 trillion system will attract whole new corporate configurations. The Gene Giants may slip down the food chain when the food & beverage industry or the grocery retailers buy into Generation 3.
Declaration of Athens is DOA at Georgia's International Congress of Ethnobiology. Ten Points on Piracy are offered toward a more constructive discourse.
At Georgia's International Congress of Ethnobiology a proposal for a "Declaration of Athens" to set the standard for best practices and for intellectual property protection related to indigenous knowledge was pronounced 'Dead on Arrival' by indigenous leaders invited to the symposium. Ten Points on Piracy are offered toward a more constructive discourse.
A Case Study in the Public Sector's Mismanagement of Intellectual Property
In May 2000 millions of dollars and 10 years worth of publicly funded research on Golden Rice was "donated" to multinational Gene Giant, AstraZeneca (now Syngenta). The takeover of Golden Rice by AstraZeneca is a case study in the public sector's failure to address and understand patent issues.
Captain Hook, the Cattle Rustlers, and the Plant Privateers: Biopiracy of Marine, Plant, and Livestock Continues
Biopiracies are on the increase and governments are doing nothing useful about it. These cases demonstrate the power of exclusive monopoly patents to disrupt and distort domestic and international markets for Southern farmers, and to appropriate the innovative genius of indigenous peoples and rural societies.
Human Genetic Diversity Enters the Commercial Mainstream
With computer-assisted DNA sequencing machines running faster and more cheaply, researchers are now entering Phase II of human genome research. Companies are patenting and privatizing the commercially-important bits of variation found in individuals, indigenous peoples, disease and disability groups, and ethnically-distinct communities.
Monsanto terminates itself. No surprises in No-Name $27 billion merger.
Monsanto announces that it will merge with Pharmacia-Upjohn and 'spin-off' its agricultural activities. The move heralds pharmaceutical industry strategy to distance itself from GM food flop. Monsanto also announced that it would drop its ill-fated bid to acquire Delta & Pine Land, the largest cotton seed company and co-owner of the prototype Terminator patent.
The Impact of Intellectual Property Rights on Sustainable Food Security and Farm Families Remains to be Felt
Examines the controversy over the intellectual property provisions of the WTO with special emphasis on the acrimonious debate underway in Africa. To date no one has been able to give a clear answer to what the benefits of the system are for poor farmers and for food security.
Food Sovereignty and the World Food Summit - 27 Modest Proposals
The theme for the NGO/CSO Forum during the World Food Conference in Rome in early June 2002 is Food Sovereignty – the rights of small producers to provide and of poor consumers to eat. For the fifth time since it was founded in 1945, FAO is trying to get governments to wake up to their national and global obligation to end food insecurity. Past conferences have bred platitudes without progress.
Food First Backgrounder, Vol. 8, No. 2, Spring, 2002
This 4-page backgrounder on GM maize contamination in Mexico can be downloaded free from the Food First website
Terminator technology--the genetic modification of plants to produce sterile seeds--is a global threat to food security, to poor farmers, and to biodiversity. ETC group is campaigning with civil society organizations worldwide for a ban on Terminator, which has been condemned by civil society, scientific bodies and many governments as an immoral application of agricultural biotechnology.
"Using Terminator to Halt GM Seed Contamination is like ..."
The Gene Giants lost the PR battle over Terminator technology. But now they are saying that crop contamination from genetically modified (GM) seeds has become epidemic in some parts of the world and that the only solution for those opposed to GM seeds is to use Terminator to halt gene flow. They even have some environmentalists and governments calling Terminator a "green solution". That's not true. But more to the point, accepting the use of GM Terminator seeds to block GM crop contamination is like...
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