- 20 July 2012
Yesterday, the European Court of Justice published its judgement concerning the use of rare variety seeds and declared that the EU’s seed marketing laws are valid and appropriate.
"This judgement is not good news for all those who want a wide diversity of colourful and tasty tomatoes and peppers on their plates", commented Dorota Metera, Vice President of the IFOAM EU Group. "The EU seed legislation still handicaps the marketing of traditional varieties that could be grown on European fields and favours homogeneity and large scale breeding. The European Court of Justice has failed to respond to the concerns of seed savers across the EU. Consumers and farmers must now reclaim ownership of our food: We call on European citizens to speak out for EU laws that favour diversity on our plates, healthy food for all and diverse landscapes!"
"A diversity of domestic plants is the basis for our long-term food security. Climate change, emerging plant pests or even new allergies may require us in the future to use plant varieties that we do not necessarily consider important today, due to their specific genetic characteristics," adds Antje Kölling, policy manager of IFOAM EU Group. "The FAO estimates that 75 percent of domestic plant varieties globally have been lost in the last 100 years. This trend must be urgently reversed."
The EU is currently revising its seed marketing legislation - it must finally facilitate market access for traditional varieties and farm bred varieties. Moreover, the EU needs to set a framework for the marketing of open-pollinating varieties with a broader intra-varietal genetic diversity that are professionally bred. These are varieties with increased resilience to changing environmental conditions, which many organic farmers and farmers producing special qualities want to use and which all farmers may need in the future to address specific local conditions.