Wednesday

13th Dec 2017

Seed industry to benefit from new EU regulation, NGO says

  • The value of crops grown in the EU is worth €205 billion annually (Photo: freefotouk)

The European Commission on Monday (6 May) tabled an extensive package covering plant and animal health it says will strengthen standards for the whole food chain, but others call it a victory for the seed industry.

EU commissioner for health Tonio Borg told reporters in Brussels the proposal will increase the traceability and surveillance of seeds on the EU market.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

National authorities currently use certification and tests to identity seeds and ensure their health and quality before it is marketed in the EU. Such tests come with a fee that small businesses will no longer have to pay under the proposal.

Derogations aside for small business, the German-based NGO Save our Seeds (SOS) says the regulation is an open door for big companies like the US-based Monsanto and Dupont Pioneer to effectively certify, test, and inspect the seeds themselves.

Together, along with three other companies, they control between 50 to 60 percent of the global seed market.

“For the first time, the certification of commercial seeds can be done by the enterprises themselves,” Benedikt Haerlin of SOS told this website.

Haerlin says the regulation reduces the work of inspectors down to shuffling through paperwork and applications.

“At the end of the day, the authorities just sit at their desk and go through the paperwork submitted by the applicant,” he says.

A line in the proposed regulation calls for “more flexibility” to so-called professional operators.

It entitles the seed industry to carry out the necessary examination for registration, inspections, sampling and analysis of plant reproductive material for certification themselves but under the official supervision from authorities.

Haerlin says the regulation is laying down the future framework for the largest companies to trace down the intellectual property rights of seeds.

He says the commission’s proposal is putting in place a system that forces companies to keep records of their seeds, what has been planted and where, what has been sold, to whom and how.

“The regulation forms a perfect basis for controlling seeds that are patented. It is not a concern today but it increases the control of the seed market substantially,” he says.

Monsanto ranks amongst the world’s largest seed companies. The giant has patented a number of GMO seeds in the United States.

It says the patents encourage and reward innovation.

But the company is a jealous guardian of the seeds and has issued 145 lawsuits against US farmers - or about 11 every year on average - since 1997.

“To date, only nine cases have gone through full trial. In every one of these instances, the jury or court decided in our favour,” states the Monsanto website.

Greenpeace says Monsanto and some other companies in the Monsanto group have applied for more than 100 patents on seeds in Europe. About two dozen, notes Greenpeace, have so far been granted.

EU will formally renew glyphosate on 12 December

The European Commission will also reply to a million-strong citizens' petition to ban glyphosate, and clarify EU rules concerning scientific studies on which the herbicide's renewal was based.

News in Brief

  1. Report: Pro-Kremlin trolls targeted Scottish referendum
  2. MEPs vote to allow phosphate additives in kebabs
  3. Babis government sworn in in Czech Republic
  4. Russia looks to crypto-currencies to evade EU sanctions
  5. Juncker embroiled in Luxembourg wire-tapping trial
  6. Kurz close to forming new Austrian right-wing government
  7. Ministers reach deal on fish quotas but overfishing continues
  8. UK parliament to vote on right to veto final Brexit deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  2. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  3. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  4. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  5. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  6. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  7. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  8. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  9. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  10. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  11. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  12. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe

Latest News

  1. Tusk migration note prompts institutional 'hysteria'
  2. Migration looms over summit, as Africa pledges fall short
  3. Brits in EU-27 are uncertain, alone and far from protected
  4. 2018 fishing quotas agreed - but Brexit muddies waters
  5. Medical HQ to spearhead EU military push
  6. Facebook to shift ad revenue away from Ireland
  7. EU renews glyphosate approval, pledges transparency
  8. Romania searching for EU respectability