Parliament supports SP: patents on plant properties must be reviewed

1 July 2010

Parliament supports SP: patents on plant properties must be reviewed

A parliamentary majority and Minister of Agriculture Gerda Veerburg yesterday gave their support to an initiative from the SP which would ensure that the free cultivation of plants would no longer be hindered by patents owned by multinational corporations. SP Member of Parliament Henk van Gerven explains: “Research has shown that innovation is hampered by the granting of patents on plant properties and that this could eventually jeopardise the food supply. Seeds become more expensive and development of new crop plants which build positive new features into existing varieties is prevented. And all of this solely to the greater glory of the multinationals, and at the expense of the farmer and the market gardener.”

Henk van GervenVan Gerven argues that because of this the minister should introduce a law ensuring that market gardeners are totally exempt from any such patents and may freely cultivate any and every species of plant. “Patenting means that ever more plant properties are coming under private ownership. We are pleased to see firms developing new varieties of plant which are more effective against certain illnesses, or which can survive better in particular climates, but if patents are going to be sought on all of these plant properties, our food supply will fall into the hands of an ever smaller group of mega-multinationals and development will be blocked. Power relations between these multinationals and farmers will in this way be completely distorted.” In addition to the exemption of market gardeners in the Netherlands, the SP has also asked the minister if she will put the case for revision of the bio-patents directive.

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