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ECVC on the PRM, plant and animal health and official controls review

20 November 2013

1.) Farmers rights to produce and exchange their seeds1! -The scope of the new regulation on seed marketing must not harm the right of farmers and gardeners to exchange freely their own seeds! -No mandatory registration as operator for the farmers and gardeners who produce or exchange their own seeds, or for the small farmers that commercialize it directly. Clear recognition of the farmers’ right to exchange their own seeds and defense of the in-situ conservation practices for genetic resources. The proposal should clearly recognize that exchange among farmers and in-situ on-farm conservation is out of the scope of the seed marketing regulation. Farmers that produce, exchange and small farmers who commercialize their own seed (not protected by any Intellectual Property Rights, or IPR2) without intermediaries (max.1), should not be considered as operator. 2.) Marketing of diversity seed ! -No mandatory registration or certification for freely reproducible seeds which are not protected by any IPR! Simple rules of identification the variety - taking into account its origin and breeding methods - and of indication of the years and places of multiplication of the seeds should be sufficient informations for the buyers. -The registration under “Officially Recognized description” should not be reserved to ancient varieties, but opened to the new ones which are not protected by IPR -No marketing of patented niche or heterogeneous material -Marketing of fruit, grape plants and other cuttings must be able to enter into niche and heterogeneous plants -We need a clear definition that avoids intentionally pollution with patented material and banns the danger that big companies use these new categories to market their biotech and industrial products. The new categories introduced in the proposal and published by the Commission under the name of “heterogeneous material” and “niche material” could represent both a big opportunity and a big risk. These concept, not yet defined by the proposal but postponed to future delegated acts, they could represents a risk for European farmers if they do not provide barriers against patent material (risk that corporations use these new categories in order to grant the access for new biotech and patented products that normally cannot enter in the market trough the official catalogue). But they could represent a big opportunity for farmers if they are defined in order to facilitate the development of open pollinated, mass-selected and farmer varieties thought for a sustainable, agro-ecological and free from biotech agriculture. We welcome the intention of the commission to create these two new categories, if the Commission confirms that those categories will be opened without any restriction to farmers' and freely reproducible seeds, and won't be opened to patented varieties. We ask that those categories are clearly opened to fruit and wine plants as well as to other cuttings. 3.) No exclusion of organic seeds by standards for registration, certification and plant health! -We need adapted and smarter rules for registration and marketing of “organic varieties”. This includes new standards to find out the “ecological value for cultivation”, taking into account the different soil, clime and fertilizer requirements, instead of VCU testing standards. Small farmers that produce seeds under an agroecological framework and exchange and commercialize their own seed (not protected by IPRs) without intermediaries (max.1), should not be consider as operator. In the case they want to have access to the official market they should be provided with rules adapted to small farmers. In the case of plant health controls, the authorities should guarantee the privacy of farmer confidential data. 4.) Regulation and market control are a public service! -No privatization of public registration and certification! It would increase the costs for small enterprises, favorize conflicts of interest, obliges small producers to use control organisms and installations which are in the hands of the big producers... Controls on seed should remain a public service, totally independent from the industry and the owners of Intellectual Property Rights. The protection of the personal information must be totally guaranteed. The measures introduced by the commission that provide the possibility for the industry to auto-control their own seeds could be the first step for the privatization of the control of the market and compromise the future of the whole seed supply system. 5.) Transparency on the breeding methods and Intellectual Property Rights! -Consumers and farmers who refuse the genetic modification technologies and the seeds privatization by Intellectual Property Rights (patents and/or PVP) must keep the possibility to choose the food they eat and the plants they cultivate! Small farmers in Europe demand transparence on labeling : Breeding methods and IPRs should be clearly indicated. 6.) 30 “Delegated Acts”  to bypass the European parliament and the member states? -The European Commission has to disclose its intention and has to clarify the law before the vote in the European Parliament. We welcome the intention of the Commission to create those two new categories, if the text of the regulation adopted by the Parliament confirms itself that they are opened without any restriction to farmers and freely reproducible seeds, and not open to patented seeds, without referring discussions on such an important political choice to delegated acts on which citizens will have no control.

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