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Vibrant: Virtual Brazilian Anthropology

versão On-line ISSN 1809-4341


RADOMSKY, Guilherme Francisco Waterloo  e  LEAL, Ondina Fachel. From the production of rules to seed production: Global Intellectual Property and local knowledge. Vibrant, Virtual Braz. Anthr. [online]. 2012, vol.9, n.1, pp.451-472. ISSN 1809-4341.

This paper analyzes the links and overlappings between traditional knowledge and biodiversity in the context of ecological family farming in southern Brazil. The data presented are part of an ethnographic study carried out among a network of ecological farmers, Ecovida, in the west of Santa Catarina state. The current global patent regime, most prominently the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) of the World Trade Organization (WTO), has had direct effects on seed production and agricultural food crops. In a scenario of increasing creation of patents, patent regulations, provisions on cultivars (plant varieties and seed breeding) and a number of other global trade control mechanisms, family farmers and other related social actors have rejected the multilateral development agencies' notion of life as "resource". This study has a two-fold aim: first, it approaches the international context of the intellectual property regime on biodiversity and knowledge production; second, it examines the actions taken by farmers participating in the Ecovida network toward creating alternative ways of managing knowledge to produce "free" seeds. As an outcome, there is a parallel political action of criticism and resistance to the current narrowing of agriculture's genetic base, and organized efforts to multiply seeds, know-how and knowledge through networks, banks and centers of agro-biodiversity. Our central argument is that all these social actors - who make up the so-called ecological network and who seek, in their activities, to carry on the multiplication and variability of seeds and promote the diversity of knowledge to produce diverse seeds - are also creating collective strategies of social resistance vis-à-vis the prevailing global modes of controlling knowledge, seeds and food production.

Palavras-chave : Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs); Traditional Knowledge; Family farming; Agro-Biodiversity; Network; Seed Production.

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