Credits: information source: Signe Voltelen, composed by Jodi Koberinski
Photos source: https://www.facebook.com/friefroe/photos
Denmark has just become the European Union role model for biodiversity friendly seed marketing laws, putting pressure on every other country in the EU currently embracing the push to corporatize our seed heritage to follow suit.
The Danish Seed Savers (Frøsamlerne), The Danish Association for Practical Ecology (Landsforeningen Praktisk Økologi) and other engaged seed guardians networks behind SEED POPUP 2016 are celebrating Denmark’s decision to reject the corporatization of our seed heritage and free the seed. “Last year we focused on changing the Danish seed legislation and after repeating our demands many times for a free seed exchange, we finally succeeded! Now we have a good basis to swap, sell and exchange seeds for citizens, businesses and agriculture”, says Signe Voltelen, member of the board of the The Danish Association for Practical Ecology.
Under the new rules, it is now possible to trade non-commercial seeds under very relaxed conditions, signalling a major shift from the seed commodification frenzy of the past 30 years. The trade of non-commercial seeds is no longer regarded as “marketing” and therefore is not under jurisdiction of the EU “seed marketing directives”. The rules are meant to be simple, with the Danish Government arguing the EU directives apply only to the marketing of plant genetic resources, or seeds, intended for the purpose of “commercial exploitation”.
“Commercial exploitation” is interpreted in Denmark as “aimed at commercial production”. By this interpretation, marketing of plant genetic resources that are not intended for commercial production, or “non-commercial seeds”, are not regarded as subject to the legislation.
The new legislation seems to place no limitations on seed quantity, package size, or region of origin. Some restrictions do apply regarding vendors, with the intention to prevent businesses with products intended for agricultural production from being able to sell “non-commercial seeds”.
Last year, the Seed Popup event was organized to challenge the legality of restrictions on swapping any seeds in Denmark, both for private persons (home kitchen gardeners) and for farmers. The event and media outreach sparked public debate, leading to an invitation to the Danish Seed Savers (Frøsamlerne) and The Danish Association for Practical Ecology (Landsforeningen Praktisk Økologi) to participate in shaping a new seed-legislation. The Danish AgriFish Agency, various agriculture associations, the seed industry and engaged NGOs collaborated to draft the new legislation making it legal to swap seeds from businesses to customer (B2C) and from customer to customer (C2C), without government control and without paying any fees, as was the case previous to the new rules being adopted.
Arche Noah, the largest seed saving community and organization in Europe, recommends that every country in the European Union copy the new Danish implementation of seed legislation.
In the spirit of maximizing seed biodiversity, the Danish government used 100% of the room for manoeuvre within the EU directives, pushing back on the changes under the UPOV91 Convention that have been so readily embraced by other EU jurisdictions and governments around the world.
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