A priority must be sustainable fresh-water management that addresses the present scarcity of drinking water in many regions of the world and the rapid expansion of this emerging water crisis. This water crisis is likely to be dramatically exacerbated by the impacts of climate change. The continuing erosion of soil must also stop to preserve the basis of agricultural production. A priority must be the phasing out of the alarming input of toxic substances into vital eco-systems as well as the human food chain. Reducing the waste of energy and natural resources due to irrational, counterproductive, unhealthy systems of processing, storage, transport, and consumption must become integral to future sustainable food production and consumption policies. Finally, future agricultural production must aim at reducing and ideally stopping present trends of unsustainable urbanization and development of mega-cities, which not only dramatically increase negative ecological impacts and destructive trends, but are also glaring high-risk hot spots of potential climate impacts on humanity.
International agreements such as the FAO Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and the Convention on Biological Diversity which recognizes the need to conserve biodiversity and defend farmersʼ rights, as well as national and sub-national laws that have upheld the rights of farmers to save, use, exchange, improve and develop seeds, need to be upheld and strengthened and made effective instruments to counter the growing corporate monopoly over seeds. It is at the local level that the new paradigm of seed is being formed. Communities are creating movements to save and share seeds and create alternatives to non- sustainable agriculture based on monocultures and monopolistic “intellectual property rights” over seed.
Part Three THE LAW OF SEED
Diversity, freedom and the enfolding potential and evolution of agriculture and humanity are core principles of the law of seed.
Diversity is our highest security. Diversification has been the most successful and widespread strategy of agricultural innovation and survival over the past 10,000 years. It increases the choice of options and the chances of adapting successfully to changing environmental conditions and human needs.
For these reasons and others, in contrast to the present trends towards mono-cultures and genetic erosion, diversity must once again become the overarching strategy of future seed development in the following ways:
- Diversity of Seed: There is immediate and urgent need to conserve seed diversity to expand the number of plants used for human nutrition as well as the number of varieties used in any single plant species. Reversing the dangerous trend of narrowing the diversity of plants used and the genetic diversity within plants is one of the most urgent calls to preserve humankindʼs options for the future and protect diversity.