Quick Reads

Proctor's Gamble

Yellow Bean Patent Owner Sues 16 Farmers and Processors in US

How can monopoly patents threaten food security and the livelihoods of farmers? The controversial Enola bean patent demonstrates the abuses of intellectual property monopoly:

A US patent on a yellow bean variety has disrupted export markets for Mexican bean growers and is now wreaking havoc on small farmers and seed companies in the United States. The patent makes it illegal for unlicensed users in the United States to grow, sell, import, or use the proprietary yellow bean seeds.

Larry Proctor, the president of Pod-Ners seed company (Colorado, USA) and the owner of the controversial US patent on a yellow-colored bean variety, filed a lawsuit on 30 November 2001 against 16 small bean seed companies and farmers in Colorado, claiming that they are violating the patent by illegally growing and selling his yellow "Enola" bean. Proctor holds both a US Patent and a US Plant Variety Protection certificate on the Enola yellow bean.

Trick or Treaty? How the IU became an IOU

Is "The Law of the Seed" a White Elephant. Or the Mouse that could roar?

The first global accord of the 21st century, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, was adopted by consensus on November 3rd, 2001. After seven years of acrimonious debate, the convoluted text can't be read without recourse to the Rosetta Stone. Nevertheless, history will come to know it as "The Law of the Seed" - a signal step toward food sovereignty and justice. Today, the ETC group (formerly RAFI) is releasing its ETC Translator to help farmers and policy-makers decipher the accord. The 16-page report includes 11 cartoons of biocrat negotiators and a Global Governance Report scoring the 25 delegations and organizations that most influenced the outcome - for good or ill.

Trato o Truco. La ley de la semilla ¿es un elefante blanco, o el ratón que podría rugir?

El primer acuerdo global del siglo 21, el Tratado Internacional sobre Recursos Fitogenéticos para la Alimentación y la Agricultura, fue adoptado por consenso el 3 de noviembre del 2001. Después de siete años de enconado debate, el rebuscado texto no puede ser leído sin recurrir a la Piedra Rosetta. Sin embargo, la historia lo conocerá como “La Ley de la Semilla” –un paso significativo hacia la soberanía alimentaria y la justicia. Ahora el Grupo ETC (antes RAFI) publica su Traductor ETC para ayudar a los agricultores y a los elaboradores de políticas a descifrar el acuerdo. El informe de 16 páginas incluye 11 caricaturas de los biócratas negociadores, así como El informe mundial sobre la actuación de los gobiernos, con una semblanza de las 25 delegaciones y organizaciones que influyeron más en el resultado –para bien o para mal. El texto completo está disponible en www.etcgroup.org.

US Government's $2.5 Million Biopiracy Project in Mexico Cancelled

Victory for Indigenous Peoples in Chiapas

After two years of intense local opposition from indigenous peoples' organizations in Chiapas, Mexico, the US government-funded ICBG-Maya project aimed at the bioprospecting of Mayan medicinal plants and traditional knowledge has been "definitively cancelled" by the Project's Chiapas-based partner, ECOSUR - El Colegio de la Frontera Sur. The US government confirmed today that the ICBG-Maya Project has been terminated.

Proyecto de biopiratería en México cancelado definitivamente

Luego de dos años de intensa oposición local de las organizaciones indígenas de Chiapas, México, el proyecto ICBG Maya, financiado por el gobierno de los Estados Unidos con el objetivo de realizar bioprospección del conocimiento y plantas tradicionales de Chiapas fue "definitivamente cancelado" por parte de uno de los socios del proyecto, la institución pública de investigación Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), con sede en Chiapas. El gobierno de Estados Unidos también confirmó hoy que el proyecto ICBG Maya es un capítulo cerrado.

Tratado Internacional sobre Semillas y Derechos de los Agricultores

Primer Tratado Internacional del Siglo XXI

Después de siete años de arduos debates, la Conferencia de la FAO adoptó un Tratado Internacional sobre Recursos Genéticos para la Alimentación y la Agricultura el 3 de noviembre del 2001. Fue aprobado por 116 votos a favor, y dos abstenciones: Estados Unidos y Japón. El nuevo Tratado revisa el Compromiso Internacional sobre Recursos Fitogenéticos que existía anteriormente -desde 1983- y crea un acuerdo legalmente obligatorio que entrará en vigencia luego de que lo hayan ratificado 40 Estados.

Thai-phoon in the rice bowl?

U.S. Acquisitionof aromatic Thai rice breaks trust, tramples farmers, threatens trade and seed treaty talks

However US scientists got hold of Thailand's billion dollar 'Jasmine' rice, the reality is that US national public research has the potential to destroy a vital export market for poor Asian farmers. That the invaluable germplasm may have been sent, improperly, by an international public science body dedicated to poverty eradication, raises tough questions about the role of the public sector in privatized science. Ironically, the very treaty that could help resolve these issues is endangered by this latest biopiracy. ETC Group draws out the international consequences.

HyPEing the Human Genome

The Dissent Disease

A new report by ETC Group argues that the pharmaceutical industry's major interest in "The Book of Life" and parallel advances in neurosciences lies in the development of new drugs and therapies that target "well people" rather than the ill. The study also shows that company strategies focusing on parents could eliminate the "different" in the human species in favour of a monocultural "norm." In addition, industry and government are exploring the potential to use the new genomics to monitor and control dissent.

RAFI becomes ETC Group

International Advocacy Group Changes Name, President, and Widens Agenda

ETC Group (pronounced etcetera) is the new name for the former Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI). The full legal name will be Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration . The official name change took place September 1st as the organization began its 16th year of activity.

Etcetera: We had hundreds of name suggestions, Pat Mooney, Executive Director reports, referring to the name contest launched on the RAFI website earlier this year. A surprisingly large percentage of the suggestions were actually complimentary, Hope Shand, Research Director, recalls. The most common suggestion was not to change our name at all. (The change was advised in order to secure the advocacy group s non-profit status in the United States. The ETC Group is incorporated both in Europe and in Canada, with headquarters in Winnipeg.

RAFI se transforma en ETC

Cambio de nombre y nuevas actividades

"ETC Group" (con la intención de que se pronuncie “Etcétera”) es el nuevo nombre de la Fundación Internacional para el Progreso Rural (RAFI por sus siglas en inglés). El nombre completo es “Grupo de acción sobre Erosión, Tecnología y Concentración”. El cambio ocurrió oficialmente el 1º de septiembre, al comenzar el 16avo año de actividades de RAFI.