EU Taking Control of Seeds for Agribusiness Benefit

When food and gardening are treated as if they’re nothing more than commodities, especially when control is placed in the hands of those whose sole interest is profits, then the people under such rule are living in total tyranny. That’s exactly what the EU is in the process of doing: handing the most basic of food rights, access to seeds, over to Agribusiness.

by Heidi Stevenson

There can be no greater tyranny than control of our food, and seeds are the basis of food. In a major move toward a totalitarian state, the European Union’s unelected Commission is taking over control of all seeds. This is, of course, being done in typically Orwellian manner. The document laying out their plans starts with the statement:

Seed and propagating material (S&PM) is a cornerstone input for agricultural production.
Therefore, ensuring the availability of seed and propagating material of sufficient quality is
crucial for the production of food and feed.[1]

They are insisting on the authority to register all seeds in the EU and to inspect and certify them. To this end, they have written 21 Directives on how they’re to be controlled. It’s fairly obvious to anyone who has followed modern legislation that the longer it is, the more obscure it is. The initial document quoted above takes 35 pages to summarize their intent.

The Plans

Their plans state:

  1. Plants must be listed in both national and EU catalogs if their seed is to be sold, and they must be tested for their cultivation value.
  2. Plants and seed propagating materials are subject to a pre-market certification system.
  3. Suppliers must be registered.

All of this is being done, of course, in the name of “harmonization”, which is Orwell-speak for control of the market so that multinational corporations benefit. It has nothing to do with benefit for the people.

Although the Commission protests otherwise, it becomes obvious that the small farmer—meaning true organic farmer—and the home gardener will be subsumed.

Costs and controls will eliminate true seed diversity and heritage (old) seeds, those that have been developed over the centuries for a variety of reasons, including sturdiness, natural pest resilience, flavor, and quantity. These have consistently produced the best food on the planet—but that’s not the concern of Agribusiness. Their interest is focused on one thing alone: profits. The cost to society, health, and the environment are of no concern to them, and anything that prevents people from growing their own food and buying from or trading with local, known growers is to industrial agriculture’s benefit.

Supposedly, small farmers will not be heavily affected. But how is the term, small farmer, defined? We don’t know. Nor do we know how the EU Commission defines harm—but we do know that their regulation of herbs and supplements is onerous.

I can personally attest that even the UK’s largest supplement store, Holland & Barrett, is being heavily impacted. They are now able to sell only very large quantities of some of their house brand vitamins because they must apply for separate approval to sell smaller quantities, in spite of the fact that what’s inside the container will be identical. The homeopathic preparations of tissue salts called New Era have been discontinued because the manufacturer is unable to afford the cost of going through the application process.[3] This is just the beginning of a process designed to destroy the public’s access to natural products, which have proven safe over centuries and are our birthright. The same thing is now happening to the seeds of plants we require for food.

EU Hands Natural Historic Seeds Over to Monsanto

Keep in mind that the EU has allowed Monsanto to patent existing seeds, thus giving them control over vast portions of the seed market already. This includes 36% of all the EU’s tomato varieties, 32% of all peppers, and 49% of all cauliflower[2]—and this process has just begun. Following their usual practices, Monsanto is suing farmers for growing these seeds that have always been in the commons, available to anyone for trade or purchase or harvest. If there are any further limitations placed on access to seeds, then it’s obvious that freedom to farm and garden will disappear.

National Governments Stand Against the EU Commission

According to Deutsch Wirtschafts Nachriten, a German news site whose name translates roughly as New Products of Germany’s Economy, large private gardens will be treated as small farmers, so they won’t be exempted from the onerous regulations. They suspect that anyone selling even a few vegetables to neighbors may be labeled as a farmer. They state that the definition of terms is very loose. They predict that, ultimately, seed diversity will disappear.[4]

As Deutsch Wirtschafts Nachriten notes, if trade in seeds is limited or prohibited, the small gardener will be unable to get them. So all the assurances given by the EU Commission ultimately mean nothing. It’s obvious that seed diversity will fade away, leaving us to the whim of Agribusiness and their monoculture slash and burn ethos.

The Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has taken a strong stand against the Commission’s plans, stating that “disadvantages and dangers” predominate.[4] The Federal Agriculture Minister of Germany, Ilse Aigner, has spoken out against the plans, saying (as translated by Google):

Small growers need to be exempted from the authorization requirement. Gardeners and growers who receive the species richness and species diversity [must be able to grow without restriction in the future.][5]

Rare and heritage seed varieties simply won’t have a chance under the planned regulations. Only those seeds with deep pockets behind them, such as Monsanto and other Agribusiness corporations, will be able to gain approval for their seeds. Those truly fine seeds, ones that have lasted for generations, or new ones recently developed by small producers, will disappear for another reason: The regulations will require specificity of the plants’ fruits. Many of these are not consistent in production. You might think of it as a disadvantage, but that’s true nature at work. Fewer fruits are produced at any one time, and their development will vary as a result. But, that won’t matter under these one-size-fits all regulations that are designed to favor Agribusiness, not honest farming and gardening.

EU Commission: Not to Be Trusted

The EU Commission has clearly demonstrated its lack of trustworthiness. They insisted that people’s access to herbal products and supplements wouldn’t be curtailed—but that’s precisely what has happened and continues to happen. It’s entirely unreasonable to trust them when they say that home gardeners and small farmers won’t be affected by directives they’re producing. Indeed, it’s the reason for putting these directives in place—to hand the most basic part of agriculture over to Agribusiness. So, please, take action. Every voice is needed if we’re to stop the theft of everyone’s birthright.

When food and gardening are treated as if they’re nothing more than commodities, especially when control is placed in the hands of those whose sole interest is profits, then the people under such rule are living in total tyranny.

What You Can do

Please, go to Seed for All. Read the letter addressed to:

Members of the European Parliament
Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection
Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development
Commissioner for the Environment
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship
Commissioner for Development
Commissioner for Regional Policy

Then, go to Freedom for Diversity’s petition and sign it!

Better yet, write to your personal member of EU Parliament to register your dissastisfaction with plans for seed registration. Let it be known that you will not go along—and that this issue will affect your vote!


  1. Options and Analysis of Possible Scenarios for the Review of the EU Legislation on the Marketing of Seed and Plant Propagating Material
  2. Two million people fighting against Monsanto
  3. New Era Tissue Salts
  4. EU regulation on seeds: Slow biodiversity dies
  5. Aigner rejects EU seed plans

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