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The protection and defense of native seeds is one of the main pillars in the struggle against the Small Farmers Movement (MPA) of Brazil. The work historically carried out by peasants is underpinned by the movement with the creation of agroecological seed rescue, production, conservation and reproduction centers, and the organization of the National Native Seed Festival, in its 5th edition.
At the first MPA Congress, this issue was also present. To address this fundamental pillar of peasant struggles, Vivana Rojas interviewed Marciano da Silva and Gilberto Schneider. "At this congress we are ratifying, reaffirming our commitment with the campaign Seeds, Heritage of the Peoples at the Service of Humankind, of continuing the struggle, of continue building this campaign", said Gilberto.
As part of this practical commitment, Gilberto said that each and everyone of the 4,000 participants of the MPA Congress coming from 19 Brazilian states committed to taking care of and protecting native seeds when returning to their homes after the congress.
In terms of the threats in the Brazilian context, Gilberto denounced the possibility of the Brazilian Parliament to lift a current international ban on the use of the so-called Terminator technology. With this "technology of death", those who produce food and the type of food produced will be more controlled. Therefore, "the MPA Congress would like to express our rejection to the possibility of lifting this ban in Brazil", said Gilberto.
Meanwhile, Marciano described to problems identified by the peasant movement in the last meeting of the International Treaty on plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (ITPGRFA), held in Rome, on October 5-9, 2015.
First of all, they made reference to the worsening of the confrontation with the corporate sector, "the large seed industry is trying to take over more and more of our seeds". This way, they denounced the existence of a "global information generation project on plant resources for food and agriculture that aims to genetically describe all seeds at international seed banks so that the industry can easily use in their genetic improvement practices and this way produce varieties for the market".
The financing for this project, according to Marciano, is private, but also public: "However, there is practically nothing to ensure the conservation of ours seeds by peasants". Marciano also said that international peasant movements have been demanding for years a debate on the rights of peasants over their seeds over 30 years in the framework of the FAO, without any satisfactory response".
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