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From: Oz <>
Newsgroups: sci.agriculture
Subject: Re: GMO or not ?
Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 13:52:40 +0100

In article <>, Tracy Aquilla
<> writes

>>Remember the EU actually made growing come old varieties illegal to grow.
>No, I do not remember. How nice. Can you provide any details?

In essence all seeds have to be registered. Registration costs a
lottadosh. Furthermore they must breed true and be distinguishable from
other registered varieties. There were also some minimum resistance
specifications, we almost lost King Edward potatoes over blight
susceptibility and it needed a special derogation.

The net result was that it became illegal to sell 'Fossets imperial
runner beans' because the amounts sold were small and couldn't possibly
justify the registration costs. Thousands of local varieties grown by
local nurseries vanished forever.


From: Oz <>
Newsgroups: sci.agriculture
Subject: Re: Terminator technology
Date: Mon, 3 May 1999 21:50:11 +0100

In article <>, Tracy Aquilla
<> writes

>>To do this requires access to the basic seedlots. I suppose I could ask
>>Zeneca to sell me some, but they are likely to be unco-operative.
>Have you no public plant breeding institutions or university varieties?

Regrettably not. We did once have a plant breeding institute at Maris
Lane, Cambridge but maggie sold it to zeneca. Now we have none.

>>>Certainly farmers in the EC have not yet forgotten how to
>>>produce seed?
>>Certainly not. Almost all my wheat and OSR seed is homegrown.
>Yes, I recall. You could continue to do so without paying any royalties,
>once the exclusive rights expire.

Possibly. However I would be restricted to unavailable and very old
varieties by then. The seed disappears long before they become free (if
they ever do in the EC, I'm not so sure).

>>Indeed. A couple of UKP over feed and it's yours BUT then EC regulations
>>make it ILLEGAL for anyone to sell seed over second generation and there
>Please explain. Can you recall any particular provisions of EC law? Seems to
>me this could be a bigger problem than the current concentration in the
>commercial seed market, and may even be a contributing factor.

1) It is illegal to sell seed that is not certified (various independent

2) It is illegal to sell seed over 2nd generation to another farm.

3) As a matter of 'normal commercial operations' if I buy 1st generation
seed then I have to sign an agreement that any seed produced is sold as
feed (ie NOT as certified seed) or back to the seed company (for a
derisory premium, if they want it that is).

4) Breaching (1) or (2) by sowing such seed voids ALL the subsidies the
farm is entitled to.

Breaching the first two is a crimimal offence, and breaching the third
is a civil one.

So it's just not worth bothering to avoid the regs.

As I say, it's fortunate the EC is not over-regulated.


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