A Grain of Truth (Part 2): Intellectual Property Analysis of the Global Agriopoly
Mismanagement of innovation lies at the heart of food scarcity. Instead of a new Green Revolution based on proprietary restrictions, the use of abundant open source technology can transform a broken “agriopolic” system that is spreading into Africa.
The implementation of new technology and agricultural innovations in marginalized countries is being promoted world wide as a means of solving problems of regional hunger and food scarcity. There is pressure from international agencies, donors, and various African governments to adopt an African Green Revolution, characterized by high yielding plant varietals and industrialized agriculture. In order for marginalized countries to have access to technology like genetically-modified seeds tolerant to fertilizers and pesticides, they are pressured to adopt regulatory policies that protect the intellectual property of the products they are purchasing. In doing so, flaws in the agricultural system that exist in U.S. and European domestic markets, an issue we describe in Part 1 of “A Grain of Truth,” would be exported worldwide. Similar to the expanding practice in the agricultural system of the U.S., farmers in marginalized countries would no longer be able to reuse seeds, and their small plots of land could be converted to industrial zones for monocrops. Traditional farming practices could be replaced by the use of expensive seeds and chemical inputs that may even threaten the future viability of the land and exacerbate the effects of climate change. With the perceived protection of unjustified agricultural patents, companies could attempt to extend market controls over markets in countries where increased food production is critical to the population. Our goal in this issue of Patently Obvious is to share with you an alternative.ShareThis