Manifesto On The Future Of Seeds (9)

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  • Diversity of agricultural systems: Agricultural policies aimed to promote and implement global diversity of seed cultivars must support the development and the spreading of agricultural systems based on an holistic approach, where human, crop, animal, microbial biodiversity is an indispensable tool to reduce external inputs, to increase productivity efficiency and reach sustainability. Two main categories have to be considered and focused on:• tradition allow external input agricultural systems where crop biodiversity (poly-cultures) and seed mixtures (consociations) help to fulfill farmers’ needs at different levels; ecological agricultural systems, where seed diversity is required to maintain planted biodiversity (crop rotation) and associated biodiversity (soil, plants and fauna). 
  • Diversity of producer-consumer relationships:  Agricultural biodiversity is best conserved when the produce from seeds enters directly into production- consumption circuits that enable farmers to earn a decent income. The merging of the production and distribution systems of food impoverishes biodiversity, whereas food systems that enable food growers and producers to have direct contact with consumers enrich biodiversity. Diversity of producer-consumer relationship is key to food democracy and protection of biodiversity.
  • Diversity of cultures: Biodiversity and cultural diversity go hand in hand. Preserving, maintaining, and re-expanding the remaining agricultural traditions and cultures of production is an immediate and most urgent challenge to prevent the further erosion of biodiversity and the depletion of global, as well as regional options for the future. This also entails respect and appreciation of the different traditions and ways of human perception of nature and food cultures.
  • Diversity of innovation: Communities and farmer co-operatives by the hundreds of thousands, and millions of family and subsistence farms and gardeners around the world, not only form the basis of the conservation and propagation of farmersʼ seed and plant varieties, but also the basis of further seed development. The addition of scientists and professional plant breeders practicing the art of participatory plant breeding would make an even more formidable force of innovation and further adaptation of seed. Finding fair and equitable ways of co-operation among these different groups and integrating their diverse levels of knowledge and experience would give enormous impetus and strength to meeting future challenges.

II. FREEDOM OF SEED

Seeds are a gift of nature and of diverse cultures. They are not a corporate invention. Passing on this ancient heritage from generation to generation is a human duty and responsibility. Seeds are a common property resource, to be shared for the well being of all and saved for the well being of future generations. Hence they cannot be owned and patented.

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