The government is urged not to join the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants of 1991 (UPOV 1991) as it’s detrimental to the interests of small farmers.
In making the statement, MADA Farmers’ Action Committee chairman, Che Ani Mat Zain called the government to immediately halt all processes to join UPOV 1991 and safeguard the rights of small farmers.
“Our concern is that UPOV 1991 favours big seed companies and commercial plant breeders of rich developed countries’ but does not benefit farmers of developing countries such as Malaysia.
“In the past, the Malaysian government had correctly decided against joining UPOV 1991 and already has in place our own law called ‘Protection of New Plant Varieties Act 2004’ (PNPV Act),” he said.
Che Ani pointed out that by joining UPOV 1991 the local law would have to be drastically changed and destroy the rights of traditional and small farmers.
The farmers’ committee chairman added, for generations, traditional farmers and local communities had been developing and adapting plant varieties to suit our local needs and conditions, which is also important in promoting biodiversity as well as adapting to the impact of climate change.
“We also understand that the government is already a part of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources on Food and Agriculture which must live up to their international commitment to implement farmers’ rights.
“Therefore we urge the government to include our farmers in making decisions, at the national level, on matters related to plant genetic resources, rights, livelihoods and food security,” he said.