at 05 Dec 2013 23:56
News on the debate about the EU seed law:
PARADIGM SHIFT instead of tinkering with niches
From 22 to 24 Nov in Vienna there was a meeting of European organisations on seed policy. There was adopted a declaration, see www.eu-seedlaw.net, available in 13 languages.
The main demands:
1. People, whether they be farmers or gardeners must not be obliged to buy seeds or other “plant reproductive material” from commercial providers. Any regulation must guarantee the rights of farmers, gardeners and all collectives to use, exchange and sell their own seeds and plants.
2. The industry standard should not be the adopted standard for the seed and plant market. It implies a technical and legal definition that natural plants cannot comply with.
3. Freely reproducible plants should not be subject to compulsory registration for varieties or certification of seeds and plants. Biodiversity should take precedence over commercial interest.
News on the LEGISLATIVE PROCESS:
In Brussels the new EU seed regulation is highly debated. The leading AGRI-committee of the EU-Parliament has postponed the deadline for amendments from 4 Dec to 11 Dec. In the last public meeting of the committee appeared great differences of opinion regarding the new regulation.
The Campaign for Seed-Sovereignty demands: there have to be substantial improvements for farmers seeds, for biodiverse seeds and for seeds for organic agriculture. The easiest change would be to make a shift from a mandatory registration of varieties and certification of seed lots to a voluntary one. Such a paradigm shift would be much easier than to tinker with niches.
Voluntary registration and certification and the product liability law are sufficient to guarantee for the farmers the identity and quality of the bought seeds and other plant propagation material.
If the Parliament should not feel brave enough to make this paradigm shift, it should send the whole proposal back to the EU commission and ask for a fundamental revision in the described direction.
WHAT CAN YOU DO in favour of farmers seeds and biodiversity?
1. Please write to MEPs of you country and ask for the above mentioned paradigm shift or a rejection of the PRM proposal
2. Please write to the (shadow) rapporteurs of the AGRI and the ENVI-commitee
2a) AGRI rapporteur: email@example.com
Shadow rapporteurs of the other political groups in AGRI:
2b) ENVI rapporteur: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shadow rapporteurs of the other political groups in ENVI:
MESSAGE: Farmers, seed savers and producers of organic seeds may not be sold off the market!
Seed producing farmers may not be forced by the new EU seed law to register their seeds, which are often only offered on a regional market, and the may not be forced to certificate their seeds costly.
Both is not only expensive, but will not succeed in many cases, because the homogeneity and the stability which is needed for registration is not by nature a property of plants! Both is produced by the seed industry for 'their' varieties, to be able to justify the protection of an intellectual property right. Farmers seeds with a broader genetic basis may not and seldom even can be pressed in corset of definition of variety.
Biodiverse seeds of seed savers have to be free trade-able as well, either on seed swaps as on markets or in long distance sale. Limitations of these varieties by phytosanitary arguments is not acceptable. Threats to plant health are neither the biodiverse seeds nor the organic seeds, but the cultivation on an industrial scale and in monoculture.
Last but not least a little PARABLE:
Could not be compared the so called "seed market" according to the PRM-proposal with a courtyard of a prison? Inside there will be the farmers and the gardeners with their demand for seeds. The prison wall is the seed legislation. Only a few producers of seeds (the seed industry) can come through the walls (fulfilling with their seeds the criteria for registration and certification) and sell their seeds inside. Seed producing farmers and others have to stay outside.
What will happen to the prices of seeds? And to biodiversity? And to the farmers?
Tear down this prison wall of seed legislation!
Campaign for Seed-Sovereignty