Notes to broadcasters on traditional seeds:

    | April 27, 2009

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    As this news story demonstrates, the interests of small scale farmers differ greatly from the interests of seed companies when it comes to traditional seed varieties. The following press release by COPAGEN Niger in response to Tropicasem’s patent application (dated April 16, 2009 and available in French only) further highlights these differences:

    The United Nations has declared May 22 as the International Day for Biological Diversity.
    -To learn more about this designated day, visit:
    -To read the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, go to:

    The following documents were prepared by advocacy organizations and discuss the issues of biosecurity and seed patents:
    – From Amis de le Terre, Brevets sur les semences, paysans sous dépendance (in French only):
    -From GRAIN, Semences paysannes fondement de la souveraineté alimentaire en Afrique de l’Ouest (in French only):

    The following Farm Radio International scripts discuss the importance of community seed banks:
    Starting a community seed bank (Package 56, Script 6, July 2000)
    Collecting seeds for a community seed bank (Package 56, Script 7, July 2000)
    Starting a community seed bank: Part 1 – A good idea? (Package 33, Script 3, July 1994)
    Starting a community seed bank: Part 2 – Organizing workers, collecting seed (Package 33, Script 4, July 1994)
    Starting a community seed bank: Part 3 – Keeping records, storing seeds (Package 33, Script 5, July 1994)
    Starting a community seed bank: Part 4 – Planting and restocking the seed (Package 33, Script 6, July 1994)

    Finally, here are some questions that you can pose to your listeners in order to learn how farmers in your region use and manage traditional seeds:
    -What traditional seed varieties do you use on your farm?
    -How did you obtain these traditional seeds?
    -How do these seeds help you to ensure your family’s food security?
    -Is there a community seed bank in your region? Which seed varieties are kept in the bank?