ngin - Norfolk Genetic Information Network

11 October 2002


1. seed facts
2. the SeedRights campaign
3. more on joining the global campaign


1. seed facts

- 1.4 billion people depend on farm-saved seed for their livelihoods  for centuries
- these seeds have been freely saved, used, exchanged and sold
- the WTO's TRIPs agreement endangers Farmers’ Rights to continue these practices
- patents have been taken out on 5 main food crops - rice, wheat, maize, soya, sorghum
- 6 big companies own 70% of these patents
- farmers growing patented crops may have to sign contracts and pay royalties
- this restricts their rights and may jeopardise their livelihoods
- 100s of US and Canadian farmers have been sued for using farm-saved
patented seed


2. the SeedRights campaign

From:        Alex Wijeratna,

ActionAid is launching the SeedRights campaign to mark World Food Day (16 Oct) and we're keen to share it with you, and hope that you may take action with groups from across the world.

The campaign aims to pressurize key negotiators at the WTO TRIPs Council in Geneva to ensure Farmers' Rights to save, use, exchange and sell seed.

We're targeting negotiators from the US, Canada, EU and Japan, and hope to influence the next TRIPs council meeting on 25 November.  We hope groups from around the world will send a letter or fax it to one of the negotiators on a specially-designed 'SeedRights' headed notepaper to make the point that global patenting rules threaten the livelihoods of 1.4billion farmers by eroding their rights to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed.

We're approach 1,000 groups, but many more are already joining.

We can send you a hard copy of the headed paper and our spoof seed packet - we're hoping that all groups will use the same headed paper to achieve consistency and campaign impact - or you can download the template from

If you want to get involved, please email or call Food rights campaigner Alex Wijeratna on tel: + 44 207 561 7613 and we can send you the SeedRights seed pack.

If you know of likeminded groups who may be interested in the SeedRights initiative, please germinate and pass this note on or let ActionAid know.

all best wishes from London.

alex wijeratna
food rights campaign coordinator

Hamlyn House
Macdonald Rd
London N19 5PG
Tel: + 44 (0) 207 561 7613
Fax: + 44 (0) 207 281 5146
Support ActionAid's new subsidies campaign: visit

ActionAid's vision is a world without poverty in which every person can  exercise their right to a life of dignity. Registered Charity No. 274467


3. Join the global SeedRights campaign

Protect Farmers‚ Rights by joining the global SeedRights campaign. Launched to mark World Food Day,16 October, we are campaigning to protect the rights and livelihoods of 1.4 billion farmers who rely on saving seed.  Global patenting rules in the WTO's TRIPs agreement threaten farmers‚ livelihoods by taking away their rights to save, use, exchange and sell farm-saved seed.

We are campaigning to pressurise key negotiators at the WTO TRIPs Council in Geneva, who are meeting on 25 November, to protect Farmers‚ Rights.

what you can do
We‚re asking you and 1,000 other concerned groups to take part in the SeedRights campaign. You can support the campaign by writing or faxing one of the TRIPs negotiators from the US, EU, Canada or Japan.

write or fax:
1. download our specially designed SeedRights headed notepaper
2. click here for some key points you may wish to make in your letter [see seed facts at top of this mail]
3. click here for the TRIPs negotiators‚ addresses, fax numbers and email addresses [see below]

Please register your protest and let us know the campaign is spreading:
addresses etc.

Mr Claude Burcky,US Trade Representative
600 17th Street NW,Washington DC 20508, USA
tel: +1 202 395 4510 fax: +1 202 395 3891

Mr Paul Vandoren,Head of Unit, DG Trade F1
European Commission,Char 08/235, Rue de la Loi 200,
1049 Brussels, Belgium
tel: +32 2 299 2436 fax: +32 2 299 0586

Mr Takashi Yamashita,TRIPs Negotiator
Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations Office
Case postale 337,1211 Genève 19, Switzerland
tel: +41 22 717 31 11 fax: +41 22 788 33 68

Ms Catherine Dickson,
Dept of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Lester B Pearson Building,125 Sussex Drive Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0G2
tel: +1 613 944 2014 fax: +1 613 944 0066

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