>> We may have assembled them into "cadillac" varieties, but
>> the building blocks are there for everyone to use.
> Ah, the sweet music, sleep, sleep everything is OK.
I didn't say I thought there were no problems.
> ...what part of that range of "building blocks" in the public
> domain is really and truly "there for everyone (especially
> farmers) to use"?
I have to admit, this is a good point. You can get 100 seeds of almost any
land race from the NPGS, but most farmers don't have the wherewithal to
propagate and maintain purity of OP varieties. With self-pollinated species
like beans, wheat or soybeans this is not a problem though. If there is a
demand for certain traditional varieties, rest assured that there are
mom-and-pop seed companies that will (and do) supply it.
> I understand I can't even buy non-transgenic varieties
> of Pioneers own "best varieties".
In some cases, the non-transgenic counterpart doesn't technically exist as a
variety, but it could be made. It is market-driven. This all depends on
the acceptance of transgenic corn in the market. If customers don't want
GMO's, more non-transgenic varieties will be offered.
> I could only plant my grandfather's corn if I had saved the seed.
Well, you can get small quantities of very similar landrace corn from the
You can propagate it, select, and save seed, and you'll have your own
variety. But it won't perform well compared to modern hybrid varieties.
> Traditional, open-pollinated and heritage varieties of seed
> are in great danger because the small farmers that perserve
> them are under the severest threat in human history. They are
> literally starving and their children are leaving for the city.
The varieties are in germplasm repositories and what is happening to small
farmers (mostly already happened) is exactly what happened to the butcher,
baker, and candlestick maker. Hell, people used to refine iron in the
> They are considered expendible by their govnerments and by the
> corporations who are setting the new rules of the game in the
> WTO etc.
I think they are considered expendable by the public who want cheap food and
do not want to subsidize farmers. Contrast this with the French approach,
where the public seems to have decided to protect the small farm sector.
This is not bad for the seed industry. Those French farmers are able to pay
high prices for the finest seed.
> A small number of corporations are indeed, very near to controlling
> the vital inputs to the world's food system ans well as the
> channels of commercialization. This concentration of power
> and control in the food system is a fact, it is documented, it
> is right before our noses everyday. Dale, I guess, thinks it's
> safe. I don't.
I am not comfortable with this concentration either. But I don't think
there is a lot of common purpose and collusion between the seed companies
and grain companies. I think the seed industry would like to see
decommodification of grain. I don't think the grain trade wants that to
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