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The Times of India, 16 December 2014

Nation faces challenge to knowledge sovereignty


VARANASI: Eminent environmental activist and founder of Navdanya Dr Vandana Shiva said that the nation faces new challenges related to knowledge sovereignty, specially in the form of unethical, unscientific and unjust intellectual property rights leading to bio-piracy of indigenous knowledge on the one hand and monopolies over biodiversity and seed on the other.

Delivering the convocation address at the third convocation of the Indian Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (IIT-BHU) at Swatantrata Bhawan on Monday, Shiva said, “Today, MNCs are trying to make seed saving by farmers illegal through IPR monopolies and defining seed as their invention. They are collecting super profits through royalties on seeds evolved by nature and farmers.”

Shiva added that she started Navdanya in 1987, when she heard the corporations spell out their vision of total control on life through genetic engineering and patents on life and seeds and a ‘free trade’ agreement. According to Shiva, seed freedom includes farmer’s rights to save, exchange, breed, sell farmers varieties that have been evolved over millennia without interference of the state or corporations.