Title

Seed policy in Pakistan: The impact of new laws on food sovereignty and sustainable development

Document Type

Article

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

This paper highlights the challenges that genetically modified (GM) seeds pose for farmers, citizens and the land itself in Pakistan. It explores the history of agricultural policy in Pakistan from the Green Revolution to what is now being dubbed the “Gene Revolution”, and analyzes how harmful effects of both are being amplified by two recently passed laws: the Seed (Amendment) Act 2015 and the Plant Breeders' Rights Act 2016. The analysis of these laws is done from a food sovereignty perspective on sustainable development, where food sovereignty represents “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through sustainable methods and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems.” Finally, the paper offers comparative perspectives on seed policy and activism from Ecuador, Bolivia, India and Europe to suggest ways in which GM seeds have been approached with caution or outright bans, in order to promote health safety, farmers' rights, resistance to corporate monopolies over seed, and preservation of indigenous biodiversity. Ultimately, the paper sheds light on the forms of control and corporatization that patented GM seeds embody, and asks: who owns the seed and want kind of food do we want to leave for our future generations?

Publication

Lahore Journal of Policy Studies