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September 28, 2007

The 2004 Seed Act

This act is for regulating the quality of seeds that are used in agriculture. However, if it comes into effect (I don't think it is in effect yet), farmers will not be able to breed their own seed or barter. In other words, they will need to purchase certified seeds. The penalty for not obeying this act could be anywhere between Rs 5,000 - Rs 25,000, quite a price for a small farmer.

A majority of the farmers in India use seed that has been bred locally (according to one of Vandana's articles, 80% of all seed in India is saved by farmers). This quality control will result in fewer varieties of grains being grown, indeed a second Green Revolution. Centralized seed production does not work since the seed might not be suited for the local conditions whereas the local seeds have evolved over centuries to soil, climate and pests. Also, this will make the farmer dependent on an external agency for seed.

The Act

A critique

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