January 30, 2008

Certifiable, II

On the topic of certification, GRAIN, an agricultural nonprofit, has a recent report on the problems that are arising when certifying organizations demand the use of certified organic seed.

Some blurbs from it:


The vision behind organic agriculture is one in which care for the environment and health are central, and farmers get a fair deal for their efforts. But organic agriculture is also becoming serious business – with marketing tools, like certification, occupying more and more space and influence. ...

The big multinational corporations that dominate the food trade and retail markets have changed their view of organics as the markets for organic foods have grown over the last decade or so. They no longer see them as a threat to be destroyed but as a growing market to be conquered. Even the seed corporations have started to change their tune. In recent years, a growing chorus of voices from within the seed industry has been proposing a bargain that can be summed up as: “We’ll supply you with the organic seeds if you guarantee us a market by making it mandatory for organic farmers to use our seeds.”


The EU is farther along in the process than the US is, to the point where planting saved seed will not be certifiable as organic, unless that seed was grown on a certified organic farm. Kindof takes the fun out of those casual seed swaps, doesn't it?

The folks at Bifurcated Carrots have a better rundown than I would give, particularly since they've got skin in the game, being in the European seed trade themselves.

(via Agricultural biodiversity)

Posted by rich at January 30, 2008 04:32 PM