> What seed law in particular, and how could a seed law
> (in the US, I presume?) make it difficult for a
> farmer to save seed?
In the US, each state has a set of laws dealing with trade in seeds that are
built on the model of the Federal seed law. Mainly these are
truth-in-labeling laws. They allow farmers to save seed for their own use,
unless the provisions are superceded by some sort of special agreement that
farmers get into, such as with Roundup-Ready soybeans. The US has a strong
tradition of allowing farmers to save seed.
> In my country (Philippines), seed certification has been used to
> pressure farmers to abandon traditional seeds and rely on hybrids --
> a major step in undermining farmer self-sufficiency.
Seed certification means different things in different countries. In the
US, state certification agencies are mandated by the seed law, but the
certification agency is NOT part of the state government (at least in the
states with which I am familiar). Certification systems in the US are
voluntary industry programs to maintain high quality standards. In the US,
batches of seed can be certified if they meet quality standards. In Europe,
I believe the meaning of certification is different. Certification is a
government function, and at least in some countries, varieties must be
certified to be sold. I think this is wrong.
This can work against traditional varieties because they are often poorly
described and heterogeneous. Well-intentioned government programs designed
to insure accurate labelling have trouble dealing with this.
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