Grain has published a new briefing on "the politics of organic seed certification". It makes all the usual points, most of which boil down to the fact that when there is a fixed cost for something -- anything -- bigger players benefit. There’s plenty of good information in the briefing, and in the annex that details the requirements of different regulatory bodies. But the one fundamental question I don’t see asked, let alone answered.

Why did the bodies that represent organic growers even contemplate legislation that would make “organic” seeds compulsory?

Seriously, this is something that has bothered me from the start. Lord knows there are enough loopholes in the organic regulations to begin with without caring about whether the plants that produced the seeds were, for example, fertilized or protected with Bad Chemicals. Fact is, such seeds might not have been good for the dedicated organic grower anyway, but that’s besides the point.

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