The long struggle for the authorization of the sale of farmers ‘ seed, which a farmer may deduct directly from its harvest, finally comes to fruition! It is a victory of the defenders of biodiversity, and formalized by the publication in the Official Journal of 11 June, a law that had been censored 4 years ago by the constitutional Council of the fact that it allowed the associations to proceed with the sale. Even if it is for the moment a sale is limited to a non-commercial purpose, it could have a significant impact, with, perhaps, in the coming years, more forms and varieties of food on our plates.
Why the farmers ‘ seed did not have the right to move before?
For each new seed variety, an id card is assigned. This card validates its homogeneity, its stability and performance. To maintain the stability of a seed, the act prohibited the farmers to sell the seed from their production, and to be limited to donations or exchanges of seed free of charge, for a production non-commercial. Centuries of peasant tradition and movement of varieties throughout the territories to react, actors are sensitive to the protection of biodiversity against this legislation, and against the industrial practices that follow the same logic. The extreme is represented by Monsanto, which has distinguished itself as a leader in the seed market, and the target of many criticisms and campaigns which denounce of the weight to the farmers of the dependency to the compulsory purchase of the seed industry.
Opening to the sale of seeds not registered in the official catalog
The major change brought by this new law for seed that is not registered in the official catalogue, because the sale of seed from the farmers ‘ production was already authorized for those listed in the official Catalogue.
As explained in the site PCN networks (farmers ‘seed) the sale of the farmers’ seed was already legal if the production was not intended to be released. The artisans seed them could, in effect, already offer their seeds in the catalog with a specific inscription on the pouch. The exchange (free of charge) between the gardeners had already been explicitly recognized in the law of biodiversity of August 2016, subject to two conditions : the seed should be in the public domain, and these exchanges must comply with the sanitary rules specific to the selection and production of seeds.
A big step for biodiversity and for the variety of food on our plates
Many are those who, with the containment, have rediscovered the virtues of the vegetable garden. On Youtube, the audience videos of gardening has increased considerably, from 140 % since march 15. The agri-youtubers, for their part, develop their influence and provide advice to the hobby farmers. It may be that despite the non-marketing of farmers ‘ seed, we will see more of the households who benefit from the diversity of seed.
According to Barbara Pompili, President LReM within the commission on sustainable development of the national Assembly, the sale of seed varieties in the domain of public, non-listed in the official Catalogue to the amateur is already rather important because of the genetic diversity of these seeds. The next battle to lead according to it is to reach allow the european plan the marketing of such seed in conventional agriculture.
Frédérique Tuffnel, also a member of the group Ecology, democracy, solidarity said this is good news for the diversity that, in fact, today our menus are depleted, subject to a standardisation of forms, tastes and flavours.
Of the old seed preserved in any … unlawful
Associations such as Kokopelli were organized to ensure the spread of illegal farmers ‘ seed. For Kokopelli , the distribution of old seed is rather logical and essential because it has existed for tens of thousands of years
For more than twenty years, this association accomplished its mission, the preservation of biodiversity in illegality, but not in hiding. According to La Dépêche du Midi, in the year 2019, the association had 130 000 customer accounts in its database and had sent in 2017 more than 700 000 bags of seeds in France and abroad.
Soon the legalization for trade?
This opening to the biodiversity is for the moment limited to the sphere of the vegetable garden and hobby farmers, who will benefit of new tastes and recipes. However, Barbara Pompili would like to go a little further: allow the european plan the marketing of peasant seeds in conventional agriculture.