According to organizations, certification of seeds

2006-03-22 00:00:00

Peasants from all over the world are pressured by the
international market to certify their seeds. The
Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development
(OCDE), a group from developed countries with
headquarters in France, is one example formed by
industries, consumers, and farmers responsible for
granting certification of seeds. The certification
testifies that the seed produces a quality plant based
on the rules specified by the organization. In this
way, the seed earns a quality seal before it is put on
sale, creating a “certification” of quality.

"The certification was created only to facilitate the
work of the multinationals. For the small producer, it
signifies dependence", states Camila Montecinos, a
Chilean activist with the Center on Education and
Technology (CET). For her, the certification of seeds
serves only the interests of industry.

The activist also questions the example of the OCDE,
which grants a seal to products and creates rules for
quality to regulate the process. "Despite the
consumers and farmers participating in the OCDE, it is
industry that directly influences its resolutions,
that creates rules without any basis in international
laws", she analyzes.

In this sense, one of the main markets damaged by
certification is the organic market. In the European
Union, there is a law that requires organic farmers to
label their products. Argentina, one of the large
producers of organic beef, produces meat on around 3
million hectares, without any inputs per year. Even
then, the Argentineans also have ceded to the
international demand for the certification of food.

According to Paul Nicholson, of the international
coordinating body of La Via Campesina, farmers, faced
with the pressure of the corporations and the
international market, end up certifying their products
in an attempt to preserve the organic properties of
their industries.

However, he analyzes that the decision facilitates
even more the process of commodification and
domination of the market of seeds by the
multinationals. "Various multinationals today, as in
the case of Syngenta, also certify organic food. We
are just one step away from the domination of these
agricultural products by the large corporations".

Food sovereignty

As understood by the various groups and social
movements, the decision to certify food products or
not opens up a more profound discussion: about the
commodification and privatization of natural

"Certifying a tomato seed that I have at home, I am
saying that it is my property. However nature is
public, it belongs to humanity, and not to a physical
or legal person", says Paul Nicholson.

He points out also that the peasants should not be
influenced by the capitalist thinking of the
corporations that view natural resources as a
commodity to be bought and sold. "The goal of the
multinationals is to map all the biodiversity in the
world and patent it to make money”. We have to prevent
this from happening", he states. "Seeds do not belong
to the peasants, they belong to all of society",
Camila adds.