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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 December 2 - 8  > Revision disallowing farmers' right to develop or even use traditional or heirloom seeds enacted
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2020 December 2 - 8 [POLITICS]

Revision disallowing farmers' right to develop or even use traditional or heirloom seeds enacted

December 3, 2020

Revision to the Plant Variety Protection and Seed Act was enacted on December 2 at the House of Councilors plenary session, which virtually prohibits farmers from saving or developing seeds, with the majority vote of the Liberal Democratic Party and the Komei Party. The Japanese Communist Party and the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan voted against the revision.

Under the revised law, family farmers will have to buy seeds of government-registered crops every year or pay royalties if they want to produce the registered varieties.

The revised law, however, does not include a provision preventing an abuse of breeder's right. Therefore, it is highly possible for seed companies to increase their power and strengthen their control over seeds and seedlings. The ban on breeding of seeds will make farmers mere users or consumers of seeds and seedlings, harming crop diversity while depriving farmers of their creativity as producers. Farmers will be required to pay royalties, shouldering a heavier burden to make ends meet.

In front of the Upper House members' office building, farmers and consumers staged a protest action, shouting, "The revision will destroy food and agriculture!"

Demonstrators who observed the Upper House plenary session in the public seating gallery said, "The government neither made a convincing explanation nor made public necessary information. Diet discussions on the revision were far from sufficient."

Past related articles:
> Local assemblies one after another enact ordinance to protect heirloom seeds [July 17, 2020]
> Abe gov’t intends to turn Japan’s heirloom seeds into profits of multinational agribusinesses [April 14 & 15, 2020]
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