Venezuelan campesinos and rural families may soon have a reason to celebrate as the head of the National Assembly assured on Tuesday that the Seed Law to regulate hybrid seeds and ban transgenic seed research in the South American country will be approved before the opposition takes control of the Parliament on Jan. 5, 2016.
Approval of the Seed Law has been pending since last year after being proposed through a national dialogue process in 2013. Public consultations have sought popular input on the law, and campesinos and environmental advocates have long urged for its approval.
“Popular movements rejoice, today the National Assembly approves the Seed Law.”
Rural activists have said that rejection of the Seed Law would have constituted a major setback for Venezuela’s agricultural sector with big impacts for soil fertility, agricultural productivity, and the wellbeing of small farmers, according to AVN.
The second round of discussion of the Seed Law in the National Assembly’s Committee on Finance and Economic Development wrapped up on Monday, allowing the law to go to the National Assembly for final approval.
The law will regulate the production of hybrid seeds in Venezuela and prevent the research, production, import, and distribution of GMO seeds in the name of protecting human and environmental health, food sovereignty, and soil fertility. It also brings agricultural policy in line with the Article 305 of the Venezuelan constitution, which mandates state promotion of sustainable agriculture as the constitutional foundation of food security and rural development.
“The Presidential Campesino Council rejects the repeal of the Land and Seed Law.”
While some agricultural producers have opposed the Seed Law and called for it to be rejected on the basis that it discourages research and national production, campesino groups have strongly supported the law as a key policy to protect the environment, support small farmers, and avoid corporate consolidation of the country’s agricultural sector.
The Seed Law will also launch a National Seed System as the central body to implement the law and monitor and sanction any agricultural violations, with a focus on the protection of traditional seeds.
Venezuelan agriculture has been applauded by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization for its efforts to eradicate hunger and achievements in food security and food sovereignty.
WATCH: Urban Agriculture in Venezuela