A growing number of people around the world are calling for the public ownership of seeds, which they say is essential for a more democratic and ecologically sound food system, as the coronavirus-driven spike in empty supermarket shelves and the continued loss of biodiversity this year sparked a rise in the popularity of saving and swapping seeds and shed more light on the negative consequences of allowing a handful of agrochemical corporations to dominate the global seed trade.
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has estimated that since the beginning of the 20th century, roughly 75% of the genetic diversity of agricultural crops and 93% of unique seed varieties have disappeared. This biodiversity loss has been attributed to industrialized agriculture and the big boom in agrochemicals. The increasingly commercialized nature of plant breeding has permitted transnational seed and agrochemical corporations, which enjoy so-called plant breeders' rights that give patent-like protection to breeders with limited monopoly rights over the production, marketing, and sale of their varieties, to privatize access to genetic resources taken from countries in the global south: genetic material originally nurtured by impoverished farmers is turned into patented seeds that now generate huge profits for just 4 corporations, which have gained oligopolistic control over more than 2/3 of commercial seed and pesticide sales, while decimating the innovative contribution of public sector researchers and threatening the 12,000-year-old right of peasants to breed, save, and exchange their seeds.
Many seed savers are motivated by the idea of dismantling the increasing privatization of seeds by drawing attention to the negative impact of such high levels of concentration. Covid made people really understand how our food system is dominated by a few large corporations, and this has put a focus on seed sovereignty: a grower's right to breed and exchange diverse, open source seeds, which can be saved and are not patented, genetically modified, or owned by one of the four agrochemical companies that control more than 60% of the global seed trade. Campaigners at Open Source Seeds, the Campaign for Seed Sovereignty, and elsewhere are pushing for seeds to be brought back into public ownership, arguing that something as universal as food crops should belong to everyone, not a small group of agrochemical companies.
If you own the seeds you own the food system. Access to open-pollinated seeds is the cornerstone of food citizenship because it creates non-market access to growing. (source: ecowatch.com)
Everyone can contribute to this campaign, even city dwellers can grow potted food in their balconies and terraces or indoors, and most importantly they can choose to buy local organic vegan food.
Try our organic hemp flour products, and our eco-friendly kitchen ware,
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