b'HOW TO PROMOTEAGROBIODIVERSITY ANDSUSTAINABLE AGROECOSYSTEMSA CLOSER LOOK AT THE EU SEED LEGISLATION REFORM.BY: MAGDALENA PRIELER AND FRANOIS MEIENBERGI n recent years, many position papers, strategies and guidelines have been adopted at global, regional and national levels, all of which aim to promote agro-biodiversity. There is a consensus that we should conserve crop diversity and increase its sustainable use to:preserve genetic resources for future breeding and direct use - our insurance for the futureincrease diversity in the fields to improve the resilience and adapt-ability of our agriculturea crucial tool to support sustainable agroe-cosystems i ncrease diversity on our plates - our recipe for a healthy dietNow it is time to turn the letter into action. The upcoming reform of the EU seed legislation needs to support these goals in addition to the historical target toMagdalena Prieler Franois Meienbergprovide seed quality and guarantee varie-tal identity for the farmers who choose so.promoting [] the expanded use of localsity is mentioned in measures linked to THE GOALS THAT HAVE BEEN SET and locally adapted crops, varieties andensure more sustainable food production.3The International Treaty for Plant Geneticunderutilized species; and [] adjust- The task now is to implement these Resources for Food and Agriculture wasing breeding strategies and regulationsstrategies in the upcoming seed law ratified by the European Union back inconcerning variety release and seed dis- reform.2004. Its Article 6 on Sustainable Usetribution.1of Plant Genetic Resources reads like aThe EU has taken up the ball and hasA COMMON VISION FOR recipe book for a progressive seed law:developed a Biodiversity Strategy whichCULTIVATED PLANT DIVERSITYContracting Parties shall developrecognizes farmers role in preservingAs a starting point for the upcoming and maintain appropriate policy andbiodiversity as guardians of our land.reform of the legislation on the market-legal measures that promote the sustain- [] The decline of genetic diversity musting of plant reproductive material (PRM), able use of plant genetic resources foralso be reversed, including by facilitatingseed savers (including ProSpecieRara and food and agriculture. This could includethe use of traditional varieties of cropsArche Noah), gardeners, farmers, breed-agricultural policies that promote []and breeds. This would also bring healthers, seed suppliers, food producers, and the development and maintenance ofbenefits through more varied and nutri- civil society organizations have developed diverse farming systems that enhance thetious diets. The Commission is consid- a Common Vision for Crop Diversity4. sustainable use of agricultural biologicalering the revision of marketing rules forThe vision notes that the current diversity; strengthening research whichtraditional crop varieties to contribute toregulatory framework is failing those enhances and conserves biological diver- their conservation and sustainable use.2farmers and growers who operate out-sity by maximizing intra- and inter-spe- This goal has also found its way into theside industrial agriculture, for example cific variation for the benefit of farmers;Farm to Fork Strategy, where crop diver- farmers working under agro-ecological or 16IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM'