...is based on three pillars
To be marketed at the European or national levels, a seed variety must be first registered in the official catalogs of cultivated species and plants.
There are two common European catalogs - based on the several national catalogs - in which are included a restricted set of field crops, vegetable and fruit varieties allowed to be marketed in the European Union.
Meaning that varieties of plants that are not registered on these catalogs, cannot be legally sold or exchanged in the EU.
To be registered, a variety of plant must meet several criteria:
1. Being DISTINCT
/ different than the varieties already registered in the catalog;
2. Being UNIFORM
/ giving identical individuals from one crop to another ;
3. Being STABLE
/ able to conserve its characteristics over successive generations.
Three criteria that varieties designed for industrial agriculture are much more likely to meet...
These requirements are mandatory and harmonized at the European level by the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) on the basis of global guidelines (International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants or UPOV).
Regarding the registration of field plants (cereals), a seed variety must also be tested as having an agronomic, technological and environmental value (Value for Cultivation and Use or VCU) superior to the most commonly used varieties.
Certification of seed lots and other plant reproductive material (PRM) is also required before it can be legally sold. This procedure entails verification of their identity, health and quality (e.g. in terms of purity, disease resistance or germination capacity).
Seeds are categorized as Pre-basic, Basic, Certified.
This procedure is generally carried out by Member States' official bodies
To be legally sold, seeds must eventually comply with labelling and packaging requirements.
Two Member States already adopted diferent legal framework, regarding the marketing of seeds to non profesional users: Denmark and France.
Their experiences can serve as models to be followed, while proposing improved versions, in the framework of the upcoming reform of the European seed trade legislation, planned for the end of 2022.