Seed regulation is among the long list of grievances behind the Colombian agricultural strike. By Richard Emblin
For more than two decades Colombian agronomist German Alonso Vélez has led a campaign as director of the NGO Semillas, to see Colombia’s native seeds circulated freely across the territory. For every planting season, tens of thousands of Colombian farmers are forced to buy only seeds certified by the country’s agricultural institute, ICA.
The issue of the free flow of seeds in one of the world’s most agriculturally-diverse nations dates back to 2010 when the ICA promulgated a regulation known as 9.70, which essentially gives the ICA powers to police and fine or jail those who exchange native seeds that haven’t been rubber-stamped by the ICA.