Giant Agro-chemical seed companies win passage of Agricultural Growth Act

Seed Companies after seed genetics - Almost exactly as illustrated

Almost exactly as illustrated

(November 28, 2014) Over the past few weeks the farm papers have been full of quotes from Agriculture Minister Ritz claiming he has made the right to save seed absolutely clear in his Agricultural Growth Act (C-18) which was passed in Ottawa this week.

In a way he has – although not in the way many may think. With the passage of C-18, the farmers’ right to save seed has been reduced to a mere privilege. A privilege, as every teenager soon learns, can be rescinded on a whim and with the passage of C-18 the farmers’ privilege will be subject to the whims of the private agro-chemical seed companies.

Rights, on the other hand, as the Canadian and many other democratic constitutions make clear, can only be removed by due process if at all. Speaking of due process whatever wording goes into Canadian legislation it will be superseded by the UPOV 91 treaty which the Harper Government enacted through C-18 – a point made by the National Farmers Union in their response.

Minister Ritz has also stated farmers will be treated “more like customers” which is also true, but misleading. Farmers will move from owning the wheat and other cereal grain genomes to being simply customers of the agro-chemical seed companies who have been given control of those genomes and their use, development, and disposition. In other words farmers will have to pay more to use genetics which they have already developed and once owned. Both farmers and consumers will have their choices about what they grow and what they eat made for them by the agro-chemical seed companies.

Minister Ritz’s slippery statements on seed saving are as accurate as his promise before the last election that farmers would have a vote on killing their Canadian Wheat Board. Most readers will remember that once the Harper Conservatives were re-elected they promptly, and in spite of a negative Federal Court ruling, killed the CWB.

What is absolutely clear in all this is that Minister Ritz takes western farmers for fools and heaps contempt on the growing majority who disagree with him while trying to mislead everyone who eats food with slippery language.

One comment

  1. colleen milligan

    It is NOT the responsibility of any governments to dictate to farmers from where and from whom they must purchase seeds. Seeds are the integral part of the morality of farming and feeding animals and humans. it is an egregious display of arrogance that once again the federal politicians prefer to fornicate with big agro-pharma-tech corporations than trust the souls of the humans tied lovingly to the land and their crops. SHAME ON CANADA and all farmers must save their own seeds and defy this ignorant and avaricious C18