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Seed corporatization threatens Paraguayan communities

Documentary exposes corporate interests prioritized over people’s access to seeds and their right to food

For centuries, peasant and indigenous communities have saved and exchanged seeds, adapting them to local ecosystems and transmitting knowledge to younger generations. However, such seed-sharing practices are currently threatened by land-grabbing, environmental destruction, and genetically modified seeds. Corporate interests, in particular, jeopardize free access to and sharing of native seeds.

This is the case in Paraguay where corporations’ growing influence on legislative and regulatory processes is leading to the commodification of this common good. At the same time, protecting human rights has becoming increasingly challenging amidst heightened tensions.

As UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Hilal Elver declared after her visit to Paraguay in November 2016: the Paraguayan government must re-examine its policies regarding access to and exploitation of land and seeds. Among other recommendations, Elver underscored the need to enact a law on native seeds, create seed banks as reserves, and call into question the current distribution of land.

It is within this context - exacerbated by the recent Bayer-Monsanto merger - that this documentary shows audiences the reality of affected communities through their testimonies, especially of indigenous women from different ethnic groups, given their traditional role, together with peasant women, as seed keepers. The documentary focuses on the Pai Tavytera indigenous group and specifically on one women from Ybycui, during the Feria Heñoi Jey, which is one of the various actions carried out by these communities to recover their native seeds and draw attention tointernational corporations’ interests and influence, and to the State’s lack of action as well.

FIAN International urges Paraguay to fulfill its obligations to protect the rights of its citizen, instead of prioritizing profits. FIAN wishes to remind Paraguay that seeds are a form of collective heritage and represent a vital and historical part of people’s livelihoods. Without free access to and exchange of seeds, or access to land and freedom to produce, the right to food and nutrition cannot be fulfilled in Paraguay.

You can access the documentary here


  • This documentary was produced by Añandu Cine Praguay. Thanks to FIAN Germany and FIAN Paraguay for their cooperation with the peasant and indigenous groups Vía Campesina and Heñoi Paraguay. Take part in FIAN Germany’s national campaign: “FIAN demands a world where seeds are free, in order to guarantee everyone’s quality of life, instead of a allowing a small minority to accumulate more wealth”.