Farmers use loopholes to force a law change for seeds, United Kingdom

UK farmers use legal loopholes to recover traditional seeds and to force a change in seed law


In the UK, people wanting to farm on a small scale have a difficult time accessing not only land, but also non-industrial seeds. In recent years, they have organised many seed swaps and fairs where traditional varieties are exchanged and people learn about seed selection. Yet the seed groups in the UK work almost exclusively with vegetable seeds, rarely with cereals. Thus, new farmers who want to work with old varieties of cereals have not only a more difficult time obtaining the seeds in the first place, but once they have them, spreading them is also a problem. After all, the older, non-DUS varieties wheat, rye, barley, emmer or einkorn are not registered in the catalogue and therefore cannot be legally sold.

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Basic Data
NameFarmers use loopholes to force a law change for seeds, United Kingdom
CountryUnited Kingdom
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Biopiracy and bio-prospection
Specific CommoditiesSeeds
Fruits and Vegetables
Project Details and Actors
Type of PopulationRural
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)UNKNOWN
When did the mobilization beginUNKNOWN
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Forms of MobilizationArtistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage)
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseUnder negotiation
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The final outcome of the seed laws is not yet clear.
Sources and Materials

Regulations on farm saved seeds in the UK
[click to view]

Plant Varieties Act 1997, United Kingdom
[click to view]


Farming monthly article (17/10/2014) on farmer's protest against industrial and corporate agriculture
[click to view]

Other Documents

UK farmers play football on an unleveled playing field to protest on world food day Source:
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorEJOLT Team
Last update06/03/2015