Whose seeds are they anyway?
Real Farming Report
Publisher: The Ecologist
Date Written: 06/01/2017
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX20252
The new People Need Nature report - published to coincide with this week's annual Oxford Real Farming Conference - warns that modern farming practices are not good for wildlife. But they're not good for humans either. And with predictions that we will need to produce 70 per cent more food to feed a third more mouths by 2050 the question of seed ownership and diversity cannot be ignored.
For at least 12,000 years, humans have been sowing, selecting, domesticating and freely exchanging seeds in order to adapt to the conditions of an ever-changing Earth. Then, a century or so ago, things went pear-shaped.
Since the 1900s, crop diversity has been narrowing at a dramatic pace. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), some "75% of genetic diversity has been lost".
In the mainstream, farmers have turned away from locally adapted, traditional varieties of domesticated species (landraces) in favour of alternatives offering higher yields.