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The EU Seed Market Myth

photo: flickr creative commons

photo: flickr creative commons

According to a new report compiled by The Greens, the EU seed market seriously lacks diversity. Each year, there is more concentration than the last. However, seed lobbyists claim that there are currently 7000 small and medium-sized seed companies in the EU.

Article by Attila Szocs for

When most people think of the phrase “seed companies,” they think about breeders like Monsanto. In reality, the term includes much more than just breeders. The overwhelming majority consists of processing and treatment companies, seed growers and multipliers, seed retailers and traders. In France, only 72 out of 565 seed enterprises are breeders. That means that the “7000” figure above really signifies the entire “European seed industry.” This logic doesn’t pass the common sense test because your average EU citizen doesn’t consider seed growers and multipliers (who spend most of their time in fields) to be seed companies.

This figure of “7000” is a pure myth. Enormous seed corporations mention this misleading number to governments and the media to show the public that this market is healthy and diversified. This is anything but the truth. Very little industry data is provided and no known independent data sources exist due to the belief that this information is commercially sensitive and could give competitors an upper hand. Therefore, the European Commission’s DG SANCO must make decisions regarding the regulation of this industry with biased explanations and statistics. But wait, they are at fault too. They explain to the public that this “7000” figure is accurate and that the seed sector is in fact not concentrated. At the same time, they actually acknowledge that 95% of the EU vegetable seed market is in the hands of just 5 companies in their own impact assessment of the newly proposed seed marketing law… not exactly a good situation for consumer choice and buying power.

Read the entire article at and find background information about the EU seed legislation here.