Monday, November 03, 2014

Decline in public seed supply having negative impact on farmers, study says

Consolidation in the seed industry has had a negative impact on the development of new varieties, limited farmer choice and decreased the genetic diversity of our global seed supply, says a report by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition published by the Rural Advancement Foundation International, reports Agri-Pulse, a Washington newsletter. (RAFI graphic)

Concerns expressed in the report are: farmers' limited access to seed, the narrowing of our country's agricultural plant and animal genetic diversity, consolidation within the seed industry, the decline in public cultivar development and how these trends are affecting farmers' abilities to confront the unprecedented challenges of climate change and global food security.

Juli Obudzinski, Senior Policy Specialist with the coalition, told Agri-Pulse, "Over the past 25 years, there has been a steady decline in investment in public sector breeding programs housed primarily within our nation's land grant university system and USDA research facilities. This slow atrophy of public funding to support improved plant varieties means that farmers have been left with fewer and fewer seed choices over the years and are ill-prepared to meet 21st century needs.” (Read more)

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