Ethan A. Huff
July 21, 2013
The European system of agriculture is currently undergoing some fundamental changes with regards to how plant seeds are produced, marketed, and sold across Europe. But unfortunately these changes are being guided in large part by the chemical industry, whose aggressive tactics of consolidating and patenting seeds in order to control the food supply have led to its monopolistic dominance of the seed market, which is becoming increasingly less diverse and more industrialized.
The European Commission (EC) first began working on a strategic approach to simplifying its regulatory parameters for the seed market back in 2008. Roughly five years later, the group has finally introduced a proposal that will soon be discussed by both the European Parliament (EP) and the Council, which is composed of all the EU member states. The hope is to come to a mutual agreement for how seeds will be cataloged and marketed.
But as pointed out by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), a research group working to expose the growing corporatocracy in Europe, the proposal has been crafted with industrial agribusiness in mind. Corporate lobbying groups from the seed and biotechnology industries were able to pressure officials into defending the seed status quo, which favors genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), monoculture, and other outmoded industrial agriculture practices.
“Increasingly in the modern era, industrialized corporate seed production has competed with and largely dominated over other more traditional and ecological approaches such as farmers’ in-situ seed selection, the development of open-pollinated farmer varieties not protected by intellectual property rights, and the defense of conservation varieties,” explains CEO.
“This domination has been consolidated by the EU’s legal framework, which only allows the farming of market seed varieties that match the ‘distinctness, uniformity and stability’ (DUS) criterions that, de facto, favor industrially-produced and monoculture-friendly seeds.”
Public demand for sustainable biodiversity is growing despite corporate pandering by government
The irony in the EU’s capitulation to the corporate seed industry, which is now patenting natural crops produced by nature, is that the people of Europe do not want corporate food. Europeans have largely rejected the GMO model, while demand for food produced using so-called “alternative” agricultural practices – this is really just another way of saying natural agricultural practices – is on the rise.
“Currently in Europe a thriving civil society movement is rediscovering and spreading old plant varieties as well as local, ecosystem-specific breeding practices,” adds CEO. “This movement’s growth is a challenge to corporate control of the seed market, making it increasingly economically relevant too, to the extent that it is seen as a threat by the mainstream seed industry that is built around high entry barriers to the market.”
Tell the EC to promote open-source biodiversity, oppose corporate monoculture
With the biotechnology industry currently on a rampage trying to buy up and patent all things living, now is the time for concerned individuals to stand up and put a stop to this monopolistic corporate takeover of food. Not only does the EU government appear ready to grant even more power to Big Ag with its new seed policies, but this same ruling class is actually in the process of trying to outlaw the cultivation of food plants that are not included on an official government list of approved varieties.
The non-profit advocacy group Avaaz has created several petitions pertaining to these issues that you can sign at the following two links:
You can also check out the full CEO article on the situation with seeds in the EU by visiting:
Sources for this article include:
This article was posted: Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 6:23 am