Source: European Parliament
Under EU regulations, farm seeds may be used by French cereal growers, provided they pay a plant variety right fee for protected varieties, a tax known as the ‘contribution to research and variety innovation’ or CRIV in French. However this tax is used in part to co-finance the relocation of seed production to countries outside the EU. While seed stations are shutting up shop in the EU, food processing groups have set up part of their production in Ukraine. They are now waiting for the Commission to give them the go-ahead by officially recognising that batches of Ukrainian maize seed meet quality equivalence criteria. A similar recognition of quality equivalence will be applied for later for sunflower seeds. However lately the number of calls for seed production to be brought back into the EU, particularly on ecological grounds, has risen considerably. We know that outsourcing seed production to non-EU countries leads to environmental and health risks that EU seed producers avoid by providing full traceability and quality guarantees. What initiatives will the Commission take to encourage the relocation back to the EU of seed production, as ‘seed sovereignty’ makes up a vital part of our food sovereignty?