It’s another victory for Monsanto, the giant corporation responsible for a large amount of genetically modified foods available on the market today. In Ghana, the national parliament has given its full support to the Plant Breeders Bill. Under this proposed legislation, farmers would be restricted from practicing ancient farming methods, like saving, swapping and breeding seeds. The new laws protect the intellectual property of biotech seeds, and farmers would be subjected to severe fines for growing anything that hasn’t been patented, even if the crops cross-pollinated.
The government of Ghana looks to be infiltrated by giant biotech companies. These new laws would “incentivize the development of new seed varieties to ensure the marketability of crops,” but the nation’s farmers are arguing that it gives all of the rights straight to corporations, like Monsanto, and strips the freedom of farmers to grow what they want.
This bill represents a real takeover of the food system in Ghana, where 70% of food is grown in small farms. It takes age-old farming practices and a sustainable food supply and throws it out the window just for the profits of some biotech company that isn’t even located in that nation.
“The economic impact on the lives of farmers will be disastrous,” says Duke Dagoe of Food Sovereignty Ghana. “The origin of food is seed. Whoever controls the seed controls the entire food chain.” And his words ring true for many farmers around the world who have been forced into tremendous debt by Monsanto’s seed monopolies.
The small farmers of Ghana appear to have lost this battle. What can they do to win back their rights?