Greens have welcomed news that the EU Commission has withdrawn a proposal on seeds and seed marketing, as they say the legislation would have further concentrated the power of multinationals such as Monsanto and Syngenta over seeds. A study commissioned by the Greens last year revealed that just 5 companies held 95% of the EU market share in vegetable seed, with similar concentrations in the maize and sugar beet seed markets.
Greens say the decision to ditch the proposed legislation, known as the EU Plant Reproductive Material law, represents an enormous success for civil society . The regulations would have put up bureaucratic barriers to the traditional exchange of seeds and would have been detrimental to small-scale farmers and gardeners, they say. Green MEP for the South West, Dr Scott Cato said:
“The withdrawal of this fatally flawed seeds legislation is encouraging, both for small farmers and biodiversity in agriculture. In the South West, small-scale farmers, growers and horticulturalists alike are well aware of the need to preserve biodiversity. Their efforts, such as seed-saving, exchange and sharing knowledge of locally-adapted varieties, should be commended, not endangered. The EU Commission should ensure that any new proposal protects the biodiversity of seeds and, crucially, the rights of farmers and gardeners to decide how to use their plant material.”
Greens in Europe have campaigned for the protection of the genetic diversity of crops, believing this to be vital to long-term food security and withstanding climate change.