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Author Topic: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements  (Read 112714 times)

Hillview croconut

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Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #45 on: November 27, 2013, 09:34:05 PM »
Hi Tim,

Correct me if I am wrong but are you saying that all reproductive material includes species?? Why isn't the whole of the botanical garden world up in arms? Effectively this is an attempt to claim these naturally occurring organisms as commercial entities. It's one thing to produce a commercial entity through a breeding program and wish to protect its economic worth through regulatory instruments but it's an entirely different ballgame when people with vested interests start claiming every last stick on the face of the earth.
Also why do species which have already been specifically described in botanical detail be required to be described again for commercial purposes. Just to suit a bureaucrat in Brussells?
Do the amendments make it clear what the definition of small scale is and what rights of entry these entities have in the market? Do they make it clear what sort of regulatory burden small scale operators will be obliged to shoulder to actually operate? I think,  as our much maligned MP thinks, that any concessions are sops to placate the naysayers.
Instead of moaning and groaning about the motivations of politicians it would be far more fruitful to ask them specific questions about what where they stand on this matter. That way you can stop them from  grandstanding on their own agenda.  God knows there's enough to alsk about!

Does anyone know where Kew or Edinburgh BC stand on this?  Or are they just happy that they're exempt and the barbarians can carve up the rest of the spoils.

Cheers,  Marcus

johnralphcarpenter

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Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #46 on: November 28, 2013, 01:33:55 PM »
Unless small scale is clearly defined in the regulation, say by reference to annual turnover, it will be a minefield which will benefit nobody except the lawyers.
Ralph Carpenter near Ashford, Kent, UK. USDA Zone 8 (9 in a good year)

Maggi Young

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Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #47 on: November 28, 2013, 05:38:31 PM »


I've had another reply. This time from the Eastern Counties MEP, Stuart Agnew .  Great support from him. Anyone else had a reply?


 I've had my first reply from a local MEP- Ian Hudghton - who, while  although not directly involved in the committees considering these matters,  says he will liase with his colleagues and bear in mind the possible detrimental consequences of this proposed legislation on the horticultural industry in Scotland, the UK and all of Europe.
 


Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

Palustris

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Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #48 on: November 28, 2013, 06:02:08 PM »
To me the worrying part of the piece written by Tim, is this
Quote
Therefore, niche market material should
only be made available on the market by professional operators employing a small
number of persons and with a small annual turnover.
Surely that would stop someone like me from selling a new cultivar which I may have developed?
Or have I read it wrong?

Hillview croconut

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Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #49 on: November 28, 2013, 08:42:51 PM »
Hi Palustris,

It will mean that you will have to register it yourself through a regulatory system set up by the EC. You are trapped into a legal process which benefits nobody except lawyers and bureaucrats. But here's the thing,  the biggest winners will be the large-scale nursery businesses because instead of opting for the  expensive rigmarole outlined above you will sell the rights to them and they will register it ..... that's of course if they feel inclined.

This happens all the time in PBR. Eventually small operators lose out because they don't have the resources or the expertise to negotiate the system and are shut out.  The public suffer because the market loses diversity and competition and becomes unnecessarily distorted because of bureaucratic interference, which will,  mark my words, increase over time. So much for free trade .... And all this because SOMEONE has noticed a problem with fakery in the  ornamentals market. Did anyone from the SRGC, or the AGS or for that matter, a consumer advocates group make a formal complaint to Brussells ... I dont think so. Letter writers you need to ask your reps just what is the driver for this "sledge hammer to crack a walnut" regulatory change.

Cheers,  Marcus

Hillview croconut

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Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #50 on: November 28, 2013, 09:15:04 PM »
Postscript: far be it to tell people what to say in their personal protest letters but I have found it very useful to use specific outcome examples of the type I have outlined in my previous post rather than just a generalized plea for help. Focusing on a personalize example is excellent because it humanized the issue,  the earlier post I made regarding Michael Wickenden and Cally Gardens puts a face to the problem and shows first hand the negative impact this regulatory change will have on good, hard-working people who bring benefits to our lives and to the local economy.

Cheers,  M

Tim Ingram

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Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #51 on: November 29, 2013, 03:42:09 PM »
We visited the Hillier Arboretum yesterday, though not enough time to look around the Arboretum proper. It is of course a magnificent collection of plants. What struck me is the connection it has with 'partner' gardens (Kew, Wakehurst, the National Botanic Garden of Wales). This is very similar to the RHS and its diversity of partner gardens and to the National Trust. All of these are concerned with Heritage, as is Plant Heritage itself (NCCPG) and organisations like The Gardens Trust. The question this raises is how much are private gardeners and specialist nurseries (and societies) concerned with plant heritage in an intellectual or practical sense? I have argued in the AGS Bulletin that very many individual gardeners growing and propagating plants has as much a role as fewer larger organisations in a simple statistical sense if nothing else. Many may be through National Collections of plants - and this is a reason why Plant Heritage so strongly opposes many of these proposals (especially since many collections are maintained by specialist nurseries without other financial input). On the other hand few of the above organisations have any great involvement with growing and maintaining (and most important, disseminating) alpine plants in particular, or many of the rarer and unusual species listed in the Plantfinder. It might be of note that the Plantfinder itself was devised by a member of and first published by the Hardy Plant Society. It resulted therefore from the interests of keen gardeners rather than larger institutions. This may have some relevance to this debate.

The conclusion that might be drawn is that people tend no longer to garden as much themselves, but instead visit larger gardens with significant resources and manpower. The intellectual curiousity of the individual gardener is perhaps in decline.
Dr. Timothy John Ingram. Nurseryman & gardener with strong interest in plants of Mediterranean-type climates and dryland alpines. Garden in Kent, UK. www.coptonash.plus.com

johnralphcarpenter

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Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #52 on: November 29, 2013, 07:03:22 PM »
I've had a reply from the Green MEP for the South-East:


Dear J R Carpenter,

 


Many thanks for writing to Keith about this important issue, who has asked me to respond on his behalf.

 

Like you, Keith, and the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament, are very concerned about the Commission's proposal to create a single EU wide regulation on seed production and certification. Keith would like to thank you for your comments on how these proposals will effect horticultural organisations like Plant Heritage - please be assured that I have forwarded your concerns to the Green group advisors for the Agriculture Committee (AGRI) so they can take these into consideration.

 

Keith agrees with you that the current proposal for an EU Regulation "On the production and marketing available on the market of plant reproductive material" will be very damaging for seed heritage and biodiversity. Keith has highlighted the impact the proposals will have on small breeders and seed savers: while small companies (with less than 10 employees or €2 million in turnover) will be exempted from the authorisation process, the plans risk pushing regional and organic producers into a niche market, denying them full market access. This plays directly into the hands of larger corporations that prioritise mass-production of monoculture seed varieties, and places the marketing and certification of seeds fully in the hands of the seed industry. Keith also takes on board your comments that the impact the proposals will have has not been considered with regards to more complex organisations, such as Plant Heritage.

 

As I'm sure you're well aware, the knock-on effect will be the watering down of years of seed heritage and the endangering of the genetic diversity. In order to preserve genetic and biodiversity within agricultural systems we need heterogenic plant material, which carries greater genetic variety than most of the certified varieties. Breeding companies within the seed industry concentrate on certain aspects of the genetic code, and so reduce diversity.

 

The Greens have been responsible for a number of reports in the Parliament on seed marketing laws, introducing exemptions for the marketing of traditional seeds which are in danger of disappearing. On a Green initiative, the Commission has been running an EU- wide program for the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources which allowed NGOs and small breeders to coordinate their activities across the EU.

 

However, Keith believes the Commission's proposal is a backwards step, The Greens have called the proposals a slap in the face to those who have pushed for greater diversity in plant cultivation, and highlighted the social and environmental benefits of such diversity.

 

Keith has said:

 

“These proposals from the Commission would give even more power to agri-business and reinforce the already prevalent mass-production of monoculture seed varieties.

 

We need variety within farming systems to protect genetic difference and biodiversity. I’ll be keeping a close eye on these proposals from the Commission and working with Green colleagues to protect biodiversity across Europe by voting against the proposed legislation when it comes to the parliament.”

 

Last month, the Greens in the European Parliament launched a new campaign against the "Seed Monopoly Law" with the international campaigner, Vandana Shiva. Their petition calls for the end to any law that illegitimately makes seed the exclusive private property of corporations and contradicts the overall objective of conservation and enrichment of diversity. You can read more about the campaign here: http://www.greens-efa.eu/join-the-seed-freedom-campaign-10639.html and sign the petition on the campaign website:

http://www.seedfreedom.eu/en/

 

Keith is committed to maintaining our rich diversity in local seeds and plants, for the crucial role it plays in promoting sustainable agriculture, local food production and global food security. Keith also works to promote local growing initiatives and local food production throughout the South East of England. To read more about Keith's work on food and farming, please visit his website: http://www.keithtaylormep.org.uk/category/food-farming/
 
 

Keith and the Greens/EFA Group will continue to fight at a European level against the seed industry's potential monopoly on seeds and plant reproductive material. Please be assured that the Green MEPs on the Agriculture Committee will be working hard to counter these damaging proposals.
 
 

I hope that this information is useful. Thank you again for taking the time to write to Keith about this issue. Please don't hesitate to get back in contact if you have any further questions.

 

Kind regards

 

Katy Cadwallader

 

Constituency Caseworker

Office of Keith Taylor MEP

Green Party MEP for South East England

The European Parliament

Rue Wiertz

1047 Brussels, Belgium
Ralph Carpenter near Ashford, Kent, UK. USDA Zone 8 (9 in a good year)

Hillview croconut

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Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #53 on: November 30, 2013, 06:10:48 AM »
Hi again,

I endorse what Tim has said regarding private gardens and specialist nurseries playing an important role in maintaining diversity and conserving plant heritage and importantly, disseminating  this material. Sadly we appear to be living on another planet than the one envisaged by the EC. This is readily apparent in the letter John received from the Greens MP. While he believes in the same principles as us his main focus is agriculture, food security and market diversity and efficiency, and so it should be. And that's where these pending relations should stay. His letter is in fact an argument for leaving ornamentals OUT of these regulatory changes. They simple don't matter enough to big picture and they just shouldn't be there.  They are not going to change the face of agriculture,  food security or production.

Following up on Tim's comments on interest in gardening and plants.  I can envisage a day when all plants will be locked up in botanical gardens in the interests of  biosecurity and commerce (they will be either be deemed a threat
or the property of business Inc.) While we may be permitted to go and look at examples of them we will have to pay for the privilege and sign a disclaimer to the effect that we relinquish the right to take cuttings or seeds or maybe even photos. Oh ... and we relinquish any right we might think we have to talk about them,  write about them or even think about them unless we have purchased the relevant intellectual property licence from the Office of the Commision for Natural Resources ... a joint supra-governmental and industry initiate for the efficient transfer of public property into private hands and for the promotion of a safer, risk-free world.

Cheers,  M

Diane Clement

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Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #54 on: November 30, 2013, 08:04:57 AM »

I can envisage a day when all plants will be locked up in botanical gardens in the interests of  biosecurity and commerce ... While we may be permitted to go and look at examples of them we will have to pay for the privilege

Joni Mitchell predicted this in the 60s:

They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
Then they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see them
Diane Clement, Wolverhampton, UK
Director, AGS Seed Exchange

Hillview croconut

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Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #55 on: November 30, 2013, 08:28:40 AM »
 ;D oh God how true! And for those who don't think its gonna happen,

"Don't it always seem to go
But you don't know what you got till its gone
A green paradise put up a plant police shop"


Apologies to Joni for the poetic license on the last line ....

Marcus

Dionysia

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Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #56 on: December 01, 2013, 11:23:11 AM »
Or what about Karn Evil 9 by Emerson Lake & Palmer?
'There behind a glass is a real blade of grass,
be careful as you pass.
Move along! Move along!'
« Last Edit: December 01, 2013, 11:26:23 AM by Dionysia »
Paul
 in Chippenham

johnralphcarpenter

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Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #57 on: December 01, 2013, 12:28:57 PM »
Joni Mitchell predicted this in the 60s:

They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
Then they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see them

Taking account of inflation, that's now $8.87
Ralph Carpenter near Ashford, Kent, UK. USDA Zone 8 (9 in a good year)

Richard Green

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Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #58 on: December 01, 2013, 03:49:29 PM »
I see that the December 2013 issue of the RHS's "The Garden" magazine has an update, and there is also a full page news article in the December issue of "The Plantsman" giving more detail.  On 22 October a stakeholders group of Royal Horticultural Society, Horticultural Trades Association, National Farmers Union, Plant Heritage, and some growers and agents met to draft suggested changes to the proposed regulations.  These changes will be proposed by the UK's DEFRA on behalf of the UK when legislation comes before the EU Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee in early 2014. 

However, as a backstop, all interested parties are still being encouraged to write to their MEPs in case the changes are thrown out and there is a debate in Strasbourg.
Richard Green - Balfron Station, West Central Scotland

Hillview croconut

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Re: Regulatory threats to seed exchanges and plant movements
« Reply #59 on: December 02, 2013, 09:31:05 PM »
Some of the details of the thrust of the amendments for small business as proposed by Holland and I assume, UK, are briefly discussed on Noel Kingsbury's latest blog post http://noels-garden.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/updates-eu-legislation-and-oudolf-meadow.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+NoelsGardenBlog+%28Noels+Garden+Blog%29

M

 


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