Seed sovereignty under threat – time to reform seed laws, nationally and internationally, says Dr Clare O’Grady Walshe

Dr Clare O’GradSeedSovereigntyy Walshe studies politics and international relations and wanted to understand the power and political dynamics inherent in changing seed laws, policies, and practices inside countries in the face of globalisation. After a careful study of how the laws were changed in Kenya and Ethiopia, her book, Globalisation and Seed Sovereignty in Sub-Saharan Africa, gives a detailed account of these changes and what they say about the nature of globalisation. Today, she is a Research Fellow in the School of Botany at Trinity College Dublin, and directs the new seed sovereignty group. Here she explains more about what she found and the lessons to be drawn.

You can find the article on food and security by Louise Sperling that she refers to here and download the HLPE issues paper on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on food security and nutrition here and the HLPE report on ‘Food security and nutrition: building a global narrative towards 2030’ here. Click here to download the 2009 International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report on Agriculture at a Crossroads and here for the report of IAASTD 10 years on: ‘Transformation of our food systems – the making of a paradigm shift’. If you want to know more about Conservation by Use listen to this talk by Dr Melaku Worede

As she notes the international mix of organisations and treaties affecting seeds is increasingly complex and gives rise to a confused policy space with competing regimes. My talk ‘Seeds of contention, control or diversity’ on the Food Systems Academy website explores 5 of these regimes further. She believes this confused space “best serves predatory forces capitalising on such ambiguity and uncertainty with impunity”.

About Geoff Tansey

I curate the Food Systems Academy, a free, on-line, open education resource to transform our food systems. I was also a member of the Food Ethics Council from 2000-2021 and chaired the independent Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty, which reported in 2015.
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