A special Article by Renata Reck
On the occasion of the 21st Session of the United Framework Convention on Climate Changes, there is no greater discussion than the survival of the seeds of the world. The diversity of the future of seeds is under threat, of the 80 000 edible plants used for food only about 150 are being cultivated and just eight are traded globally. The freedom of seed and the freedom of farmers are threatened by new property rights and new technologies. These are changing seed from a commons shared by farmers to a commodity controlled a central monopoly of corporations.
Short term managerial drives and profit margins sacrifice the consideration of public good.
Industrial production strategies and exclusion of communities have reduced seed diversity more than ever before. Knowledge about the use of cultivated and wild plant varieties has become scarce and inaccessible. The disappearance of local seeds has gone hand in hand with the disappearance of small farmers and local food varieties.
The mono culture paradigm must give way to a flourishing diversity paradigm. Irrational unhealthy systems of processing, storage, transport and consumption with the alarming input of toxic substances into our eco systems dramatically intensifies climate change impacts. Here are the core listed principals of the law of seed.
Law of Seed
Diversity is our highest security. It increases the choice of options and our chances of adapting to environmental conditions and human needs.
1. Diversity of Seed
2. Diversity of agricultural systems
-traditional agricultural systems where seed mixtures help to fulfil the farmers needs
-ecological agricultural systems where crop rotation and biodiversity is required
3. Diversity of producer consumer relationships
4. Diversity of Cultures
5. Diversity of Innovation
Freedom of Seed
Seeds are a gift of nature not a corporate invention. It is a human duty to pass on this ancient gift from generation to generation. Seeds are a common property resource to be shared for the well being of future generations and cannot be owned or patented. Seed sharing and saving cannot be interfered with by national or international laws that make it a crime to do so.
1. Freedom of farmers to save seeds
2. Freedom of farmers to breed new varieties
3. Freedom from privatisation and biopiracy
4. Freedom of farmers to exchange or trade seeds
5. Freedom to have access to “Open Source” seeds
6. Freedom from genetic contamination an GMO’s
7. Freedom of seed to reproduce
Seeds of the world embody the past and the future. The following lists ways in which seeds can be tailored to meet the challenges ahead.
Seeds for the Future
1. Community based seed conservation and development
2. Embedding agricultural eco-systems
3. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
4. Eliminate and phase out toxic inputs
5. Diversity within varieties
6. Breeding for food quality
7. Women are the protagonists of biodiversity
The future of evolution of humanity goes hand in hand with the future and free evolution of seeds.
What has been practiced in peasant cultures from time immemorial needs utmost support from the public and private sector if our right to choose and to live healthy safe and culturally diverse lives is to prevail.
The future of seeds carries within it the future of humanity. Ubuntu.