In 2017, five Canadian seed organizations launched a lobby group called Seed Synergy. Over the past few years, Seed Synergy has developed a series of positions that demonstrate their interests in changing Canada’s seeds regulations to further enable the concentration of power for large-scale and multinational seed corporations in Canada’s seed system. Seed Synergy, which consists of the Canadian Seed Growers Association (CSGA); Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA); Canadian Seed Institute (CSI); Commercial Seed Analysts Association of Canada (CSAAC); and the Canadian Plant Technology Agency (CPTA), propose to create a new mega group called Seeds Canada by combining the five organizations’ regulatory, service and lobbying functions under a new governance structure.
The farmers like you that we work with have often expressed a desire to have a seed system led by farmers, based on participatory public-interest research and sector-wide collaboration. We have heard that you want to preserve, improve, and breed new crop varieties to protect Canadian seed diversity, and that you want a system of seed governance that is responsive and accountable to the needs of all types of farms.
Until August 27, 2020, the five organizations are asking their respective members to vote yes or no to dissolving the individual organizations and rolling over their functions into this new entity. The change requires support of a two-thirds majority in each of the five organizations. If you produce or sell pedigreed seed and are a member of the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association, you will be eligible to vote on the merger. If you have purchased certified seed for cereals or pulse crops, you are also in a position to discuss the impacts of this merger with your seed grower. You can find out more about how to vote as a CSGA member here. This is a private sector merger and options for influencing it are more limited because there is no obligation for these organizations to consult with the public. However, the impacts of this merger will affect all farmers, including those with no right to vote, so every vote counts.
For more information, please read this excellent op-ed by the National Farmers Union’s Director of Research and Policy, Cathy Holtslander.