Mr Duke Tagoe, Deputy Chairperson of Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG), a civil society organisation (CSO), left Accra at the weekend for Kampala to attend Africa Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) Conference.

ARIPO deals with a harmonised regional legal framework for the protection of plant breeders? rights, titled: ?Draft Regional Policy and Legal Framework for Plant Variety Protection.?

ARIPO is in the process of seeking the approval of its Member States to adopt the legal framework, possibly at the ARIPO Administrative Council and Council of Ministers meeting due to take place from?November 25? November 29?in Kampala, Uganda.

FSG is opposed to the proposed regional legal framework

A statement issued by FSG in Accra and copied to Ghana News Agency said the movement supports and endorses the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa?s document that ARIPO?S plant variety protection law criminalises farmers and undermines seed systems in Africa.

The November 2012 document was signed by multiple farmer and CSOs concerned with ARIPO?s Draft Regional Policy and Legal Framework for Plant Variety Protection.

The statement said the ARIPO legal framework, if approved, will make it illegal for farmers to engage in their age-old practice of freely using, sharing and selling seeds and propagating material; a practice that underpins 90 per cent of the smallholder agriculture systems in sub-Saharan Africa.

?This practice of freely saving, using, sharing, and selling seeds represents centuries of research and development, R&D? (research and development) that has created and sustained plant varieties that suit the tastes, geography and climate of all peoples and regions of the world.

?It is critically important to protect the intellectual property and inheritance of countless generations of farmers and their heirs.? For ARIPO countries this is far more important responsibility than protecting the predatory IP practices of agrochemical giants. It is critically important for all our survival.

?The draft PVP policy protects the private sector, mostly multinational agribusiness corporations, on the pretext that this is in the interest of small-scale farmers,? the statement said.

Mr Tagoe is expected back home on the?November 30.

GNA

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