ALERT ON SEED LAW IN VENEZUELA
By Revolucion Alimentaria
On June 4, 2015, the Presidential Council on Communes, representing communal councils across the country, approved a SEED LAW bill for submission to a second debate by the National Assembly, a further step towards the promulgation of the historical proposal into law.
This SEED LAW proposal was developed by a partnership between the communal spokespersons and the legislative and executive branches of government. This example of the “People as Legislator” represents the organized expression of popular power in its push back against competing stealth legislation that would open the door to transgenic seeds. See http://www.coha.org/venezuela-and-the-battle-against-transgenic-seeds/ for a detailed discussion of the battle over transgenic seeds in Venezuela.
The following unofficial translation of some of the articles of the popular version of the SEED LAW indicates the clear agro-ecological and democratic socialist direction of the proposal.
Unofficial translation by William Camacaro and Frederick B. Mills
LEY DE SEMILLAS [SEED LAW]
[Preamble] This document is a systematic articulation of two years of intense debate by the popular sectors in which more than a thousand persons have raised their voices, with participation from 148 grassroots organizations, 162 institutions and education centers from across the entire country. It is also the product of the agreements constructed by work groups with representatives from the Legislative and Executive Powers. This legislative proposal, and no other, is the true Revolutionary Proposal for a new Seed Law. Study and Defend It!
Of the Fundamental Provisions
Article 1. The objective of this law is to preserve, protect, guarantee the production, propagation, conservation, free circulation and use of seed, as well as the promotion, investigation, distribution and commercialization of the same, from a agro ecological socialist vision, with special emphasis on the valorization of the indigenous, Afro-descendant, peasant, and local seed, that benefits bio-diversity and supports the preservation of life on the planet with the purpose of consolidating our food security and sovereignty, prohibiting the release, the use, the propagation, the entrance into the country and the national production of transgenic seeds and prohibiting the patents and rights of breeders (derechos de obtentor) over seed.
Article 2. This law has as its aims:
1.-Promote the transition from conventional systems of production based on monoculture and the use of agro-toxins with conventional use agro-industrial and/or corporate seed, to an agro ecological system of production and the preservation of the environment in the short, medium and long term, base on agro-biodiversity.
2.-Promote the production of seeds required to guarantee the national production, with the purpose of doing without importation [of seed] and achieving national sovereignty.
3.-Promote the transition to communal and ecosocialist agriculture, as well as protect agro-biodiversity through the production of local, peasant, indigenous, and Afro-desendant seed.
4.-Revalorize and re-legitimate the local, traditional, and ancestral knowledge, experiences, beliefs and practices of the peasants, indigenous and Afro-descendant other communities.
5.-Prohibit the privatization and monopolistic control of seed.
6.-Orient the organization and planning of public policy in function of the different scales of production, distinguishing policies directed at family agriculture from those of big producers.
Article 5. The production, importation, commercialization, distribution, release, use, propagation and entrance into the country of transgenic seed is prohibited. The National System of Seed will develop and guarantee the technical, organizations, and institutional ability to prevent, identify, detect, correct, remedy, and sanction violations of this prohibition.