Seeds are the basis of the world food supply. In the rural areas of the South, access to seeds is the deciding factor between a life of hunger or prosperity.
The diversity of seeds – agricultural biodiversity – has always been the foundation for the growing of new useful plants. This diversity has been developed over centuries by farmers, who have evolved new varieties through selection, maintained them through repeated cultivation and adapted them to local conditions.
- 1.5 billion Farmers are dependent on growing their own seed.
- 90-98% of Farmers in West Africa produce their own seed, the number for Eastern and Southern Africa amounts to 70-95%.
- Two thirds of the Swiss population are against patents on food crops.
- In 1991, UPOV’s Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants was agreed by merely 20 industrial countries, but the whole world is expected to adhere to it.
- The UPOV 91 prohibits the exchange of protected seeds among farmers.
- Three companies (Monsanto, DuPont and Syngenta) control more than 50% of the global commercial seed market.
- Syngenta and Monsanto own 71% of all protected seed varieties in cauliflower in Europe, 62% of all protected seed varieties of tomatoes and 56% of all protected seed varieties in pepper.