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Venezuela’s Seed Law Should Be a Global Model

Owen Schalk

The Seed Law was the result of years of consultation with social movements and peasant organizations. In addition to prohibiting transgenics and the privatization of seed varieties, the law promises governmental support for the protection and expansion of farmer-run seed systems. The Seed Law created a National Seed Commission, comprised of four governmental representatives and three representatives from social movements, as well as a Popular Council for the Protection of the Local, Peasant, Afro-descendant and Indigenous Peoples’ Seeds. The Council’s role is to promote peasant seeds systems, including the conservation, use and exchange of seeds, local seed banks, community seed production enterprises, collaborative breeding and participative certification mechanisms. Pueblo a Pueblo producers also began efforts to recover corn, legume and tuber seed varieties that had largely vanished under the pre-Chávez industrial agriculture model.