This news item out of the European Commission seems to be very important, so I think I’m justified in reproducing it in full below, especially as the specific item does not yet have a url all to itself (though there is a fairly general one):
The Commission adopted on Friday June 20 a proposal that will help preserve biodiversity. Member States had already endorsed the proposal in mid April. The proposal to protect seed varieties of agricultural crops, which may be threatened by genetic erosion, will also enable small plant breeding companies to supply local markets with naturally adapted seed varieties. These seed varieties are mostly old locally used varieties threatened by extinction.
The proposal foresees derogations from the EU seed marketing legislation for seed varieties that are naturally adapted to local conditions, but which currently cannot be marketed because they do not fulfil certain criteria. Under EU legislation, seed varieties must undergo an approval process and get listed on the national and common seed catalogues before they can be marketed within the territory of the EU. These rules ensure that EU farmers have access to high quality seed. Certain varieties, which are not found on these catalogues, are still important to ensure that plant genetic diversity is not diminished. The Commission has therefore proposed that these varieties could be placed on the catalogues without official examination, once they meet some minimum standards.
Jeremy has blogged several times about this. I guess the devil will be in the detail, but it does look encouraging. Anyone have more information?