There is a huge threat to the free availability of seeds to which Garden Organic have alerted us:-
“In April this year a draconian new EU regulation sought to replace numerous directives, which would have seen gardeners and farmers prevented from exchanging seeds and growing heritage varieties. Unlike the Directives, the regulation is not open to interpretation by each member government, it’s an EU law that will apply to the whole of Europe.
This led to fears that seed exchange networks such as Garden Organic’s Heritage Seed Library and the swapping of seeds between private individuals would be subject to costly annual licensing and registration fees. Faced with this threat to our seeds, bulbs and plants, Garden Organic began campaigning around this issue, with the call heeded by EU commissioners as last minute changes were made to the original draft proposals.
Now though, those concessions are once again under threat as a new draft report issued by the EU’s Chief Rapporteur for Agriculture, Sergio Silvestris, seeks to repeal the exemptions won back in May.
The key recommendations of Silvestris’s report would see Garden Organic’s Heritage Seed Library (HSL) once again subject to costly licensing and registrations that could mean closure for HSL. The licensing fee proposals threatens the future of small businesses producing niche market seed varieties and will restrict the development of new seed varieties. It will also leave farmers, growers and the consumer faced with limited choice as a large number of varieties are eliminated from potential future production.”
Unfortunately the time for commenting on this proposal has passed by a few days. Let us pray that the EU sees sense!