Science in Society Archive

Stop the loss of plant biodiversity and protect the gardeners' right to exhange seeds and grow their heritage plants now!

Posted Friday 26th April 2013 on

Call for significant changes in the new Regulation on Marketing of Plant Reproductive Material (PRM) will put the future of our plant biodiversity at risk, by

  • removing the rights of farmers and gardeners in Europe and developing countries;
  • preventing gardeners and farmers from growing their own plants from seed;
  • adversely affecting global food security;
  • reducing consumers´ choice; and
  • reducing transparency to the public in favour of vested corporate interests.

In November 2012, DG SANCO (the EU Directorate responsible for health and consumer affairs) issued an updated draft proposal for a new Plant Reproductive Material (PRM) Regulation which will replace numerous directives in favour of the large seed houses preventing gardeners and farmers from exchanging seeds and growing heritage varieties. DG SANCO’s proposals fly in the face of the recommendations of the EU Agricultural and Environmental Directorates who stress the policy proposal will result in the loss of plant biodiversity as well as affecting the rights of the grower. Despite the views of the other EU Directorates, DG SANCO is now pushing for a vote in favour of their proposals.

This is a major threat to the future of Garden Organic’s Heritage Seed Library and its network of enthusiastic and dedicated growers who are helping to preserve long lost varieties of plants that our ancestors grew for food. Many of these plants may have characteristics that are needed for future plant breeding in order to adapt to new pests and diseases and climate change.

This EU Directive, if approved, will result in a ban on future such activity unless every seed is registered and has an annual license paid for each variety. In the case of Garden Organic, with as many as 800 this could result in the charity having to spend around £800,000 per year. If this directive is applied it will also mean gardeners will not be able to give seeds to their friends unless they are registered and licensed.

Read the rest of this report at

Article first published 01/05/13

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Rory Short Comment left 2nd May 2013 19:07:46
In pushing for this kind of regulation the large seed houses are behaving like predatory parasites on the rest of society. Regulation and law are intended to enhance the functioning of society as a whole not to privilege particular groups at the expense of everyone else. Through the destructive effects of this kind of regulation its promoters will ultimately also suffer from its adverse consequences.