2 Sep 2010

Threat to seed banks: local company goes bust

A local resident sent me this link regarding news that one of the world's most important 'live' seed banks is threatened by a housing estate! Meanwhile news that local Malmesbury-based 'Green Seeds' has closed is not good.

Photo: First courgette off the allotment: could this be the first food grown there for years!

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The Pavlovsk experimental station near the Russian city of St Petersburg is the biggest European field seed bank and one of the largest in the world. Thousands of varieties of plants and crops there are found nowhere else. The collection is a source of genes to develop many new varieties of fruits and berries, and it is also a huge cultural heritage. The Pavlovsk collection holds about 320,000 samples of fruits and berries - 100 varieties each of gooseberries, raspberries and cherries, and more than 1,000 varieties of strawberries. About 90% of the varieties of crops there are unique!! See the shocking video here. You can sign petition here.

See here a viewpoint on why seed banks are so important. See also here my previous blog on this issue which covers some of the background to this issue with a SchNeWS article. Apparently the latest copy of New Internationalist is about Seed Savers.

The growing dominance of food and agriculture sector by a handful of giant agribusiness corporations seems unstoppable - and as highlighted by many organisations is posing a serious threat to food security and well-being of farmers. This dominance starts right from the beginning of agricultural work, i.e. from seeds. In the last 20 years the very nature of the seed industry has changed - particularly the rich western countries.

The seed industry had earlier been based on small firms. These firms were now being gobbled up by big companies, especially companies which already had big stakes in agrichemical industry — within a single decade, chemical corporations spent over US$10 billion in buying up seeds companies. In fact the American Seed Trade Association even organised a special symposium on “How to sell your seed company”!!!!

Green Seeds is sadly a victim of this crazy way we do things. A great pity as they have been very supportive to local groups - offering discounts and the like.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

By the way, people might like to have a look at http://www.realseeds.co.uk/ - lots of interesting varieties and advice on saving seeds.