Earlier today, the European Commission adopted a package of measures to strengthen the enforcement of health and safety standards for the whole agri-food chain. The package of measures includes that on reproductive material (including seeds).
You can find the final version of the package here.
Find a press release issued by ARC2020 and other concerned civil society organisations here
Leading up to the Commission decision, seed campaigners across Europe had been urging citizens to contact their national Commissioner to ensure the changes to EU legislation would allow more diversity in Europe’s fields, rather than destroying it.
However, it seems that once again, small-scale farmers and local producers will be harmed as industrial seed companies extend their dominance.
Following today’s package announcement, many NGOs have reacted negatively.
IFOAM EU Group for example has stated the Commission has failed to deliver a proposal that clearly favours agro-biodiversity today on the marketing of seed and plant propagating material.
“It is high time to end seed legislation that favours the global seed industry and corporations before the interests of consumers and farmers. Modern seed legislation must support agro-biodiversity and enable the locally adapted use and development of genetic resources to tackle climate change and future food security,” said Christopher Stopes, President of the IFOAM EU Group.
Commenting on the plans, Green MEP and co-chair of the European Parliament’s agriculture committee José Bové said:
“The proposed new EU rules on seeds would seriously threaten seed diversity in Europe and play directly into the hands of the bigger players in the agro-chemical industry. The proposals are a slap in the face to those who have pushed for greater diversity in farming and plant cultivation, and highlighted the social and environmental benefits of such diversity…”
It is now hoped that the Council and Parliament will improve the text in the legislative process during coming months.
- Commission bid to increase EU control over food chain (European Voice)
- Planned new European laws ‘threaten’ rare seeds (BBC news)
- New EU law that could ban our seeds (Permaculture.co.uk)
Related press releases: