When the Green Revolution was pushed in India and Mexico, farmers’ seeds were “rounded-up” and locked in international institutions, which used these seeds to breed green revolution varieties which responded to chemical inputs. The first two institutions were the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) in Mexico. These institutes took diversity from farmers’ fields and replaced the diversity with chemical monocultures of rice, wheat and corn.
Dr. R.H. Richharia, India’s pre-eminent rice research scientist, headed the Central Rice Research Institute (CRRI) at Cuttack, Orissa. The Indian institute existed before IRRI, had the largest collection of rice diversity the biggest rice “bank” in the world. Dr Richharia refused to allow IRRI in the Philippines to pirate the collection. The World Bank removed Dr Richharia, the guardian of Indian rice knowledge, from CRRI so that it could transfer Indian peasant intellectual property to the international institute (which later became part of the Consultative Group of International Agriculture Research). Farmers’ seed heritage is held in the seed banks of CGIAR, a consortium of 15 international agricultural research centers, which is the single biggest recipient of grants from Mr Gates.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the new World Bank when it comes to using finances to influence policies in agriculture. The Gates Foundation is a major funder of the CGIAR system — and through its funding, it is accelerating the transfer of research and seeds to corporations, facilitating intellectual property piracy and seed monopolies created through intellectual property laws and seed regulations. Control over the seeds of the world for “one agriculture” is Mr Gates’ target!
Since 2003, CGIAR centres have received more than $720 million from Mr Gates.
Besides taking control of the seeds of farmers in CGIAR seed banks, Mr Gates (along with the Rockefeller Foundation) is investing heavily in collecting seeds from across the world and storing them in a facility in Svalbard in the Arctic — the “doomsday vault”.
Mr Gates is also funding Diversity Seek (DivSeek), a global initiative to take patents on the seed collections through genomic mapping. Seven million crop accessions are in public seed banks. DivSeek could allow five corporations to own this diversity.