EU Seed Legislation Reform

On 6th May, the European Commission will submit a draft provision for the revision of EU seed legislation. The provision includes high charges for the admission procedure and new licensing and certification requirements which would be insuperable for small breeders. It would cause a threat to many old and local fruit, grain and vegetable varieties, and endanger the development of crop diversity. It would also make the free exchange of seeds and seedlings more difficult, and lead to an unavoidable rise in industrial breeds.

Save Our Seeds considers the latest version of the draft published by the Commissioner of Health and Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg, to be unacceptable and requests the Commission to decline the proposal. Save Our Seeds is calling for more seed diversity and participation by farmers, gardeners and breeders across Europe. Only this way can our agricultural and food system adapt to changing environmental conditions and consumer requirements, and defy domination by an ever smaller number of international seed companies in a sustainable manner.

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Protect and promote seed diversity! Sign the petiton today!

The petition demands that the proposed EU seed legislation allows more diversity in our fields and on our plates, rather than destroying it. Traditional and local varieties must remain exempt from licensing or certification requirements. Strict rules, controls, inspections and costly permits should only apply to seeds and seed materials which are traded commercially, in large quantities. The free exchange of seeds and seedlings between farmers, gardeners and seed initiatives must be guaranteed and supported.

Only by growing a wide selection of fruits, vegetables and grains, can we ensure that our agriculture adapts to climate change, new diseases and pests. We want colourful variety not standardized uniformity!

 Please sign our petition here!


Since approximately five years, the European Union is working on the revision of the EU seed legislation. In November 2012, the Directorate General for Health and Consumers (DG Sanco) presented its fist draft for a new regulation of the marketing of seeds and seedlings for consultation within the commission. The new regulation is supposed to substitute 12 EU-directives and their implementation within a number of different national regulations and laws and contains stricter conditions and the further standardisation of seeds. For the distribution of a multitude of locally adapted, rare and old vegetable, fruit and grain breeds this regulation could signify bureaucratic and financial barriers that will be difficult to overcome.

If the Commission succeeds in finding an agreement, an official regulation draft will be presented the sixth of May. After that, the proposal will be debated in the European Parliament and the European Council of Ministers, who have to come to an agreement before the re-elections of the EU Parliament in 2014, for the regulation to come into effect in 2015. There is still some scope to demand and enforce a more sustainable, fairer and above all diversity-orientated seed legislation within Europe!

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