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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Letter to the Irish EU Commissioner regarding: Draft Proposal for a regulation of the marketing of plant reproductive material

Dear Ms Geoghegan-Quinn,
I am the owner of one of Ireland's few commercial seed production businesses. I am very concerned about the  Draft Proposal for a regulation of the marketing of plant reproductive material, written by DG Sanco for the Commission of the EU.
Here at Brown Envelope Seeds, our work is in finding, trialling and selling the best cultivars of vegetables, herbs, oilseeds, fodder crops and grains for Irish farming and gardening. We produce over 200 cultivars, and maintain a seed bank containing many more. 

This legislation would make much of what we do illegal. It puts the future of farming into the hands of large corporations who have a track record of reducing the number of cultivars available. In a time of changing climate, both economic and environmental, farmers need as many choices as possible when deciding which crops to grow. 

The climate of Ireland is distinct from anywhere else, and therefore needs cultivars adapted to it. Our native varieties cultivated for up to 5,000 years were almost all wiped out in the 20th century. Irelands small native seed bank, guarded by the Irish Seed Savers Association, is woefully underfunded, and there is very little research into new crops being undertaken by Teagasc, Irish univeristies or other governement funded bodies. 

I urge you to vote against the proposal, because the loss of biodiversity which would result from this legislation would create long term food insecurity here, and in the rest of Europe. It is very short sighted to rely on profit motivated multinationals to care for the diversity of agricultural seeds husbanded by 10,0000 years of farming.
Yours sincerely,

Madeline McKeever
tel 028 38184


  1. I'll be writing to the UK Commissioner - this proposal is absolutely ridiculous. I agree totally that the last people we should trust to preserve seed diversity are the agribusinesses and seed multinationals.

  2. reading this makes me feel panicky. Unbelievable! I shall be writing too.

  3. Any chance of someone setting up an online petition?

  4. https://www.openpetition.de/petition/online/seed-diversity-under-threat-no-european-seed-regulations-for-the-benefit-of-the-seed-industry#googtrans(de|en)

  5. Thank you. I've signed and passed on the petition and I'm retweeting the link to your letter.

  6. Hi Madeline, signed and shared the petition

  7. Hi Madeline. I too sent emails to my local representative in Brussels from a growers point of view who wants to only grow heirloom produce. I didn't even get 1 reply from the 3 emails I sent. Maybe they require hard copies.. not sure.
    Did you get any response? I wonder did Ms Geoghegan-Quinn raise the issue.

  8. Have you ceased the blogging, Madeleine? I don't seem to be able to find any posts after April 2013?

  9. sorry i am lazy about blogging and just mess around on FB. Anything in particular you would like me to blog about? I am a Leo so if I have an audience I might get around to it.