Seed legislation workshop near Kaunas, 27.02.2020

legislation Feb 28, 2020

A seed-legislation workshop in a form of discussion on practical aspects relevant for seed-savers took place near Kaunas in Vytautas Magnus University Agriculture Academy on 27th of February, 2020. Participants included breeders, seed-savers, state officials, academia, representatives from the gene bank, students, farmers, NGO representatives. A representative of Danish Seed Savers visited the workshop and shared seed-savers experience from Denmark.

During the event, 4 speakers gave presentations with discussions in between the presentations and longer discussion afterwards. First, Gamtinės Žemdirbystės Institutas representative Gražvydas Jegelevičius outlined "Growing seed savers" project activities and introduced, why is it necessary to preserve crop diversity and heritage crops. Afterwards vegetable breeder Dr. Rasa Karklenienė presented Lithuanian vegetable breeds that have been bred by scientists in Lithuanian Institute of Agriculture and Forestry up to this day. Later on, seed saver Rasa presented her work on the preservation of heritage crops and showed some examples including a local old sort of turnip. Also a feedback was given from seed-savers perspective with regards to recent changes in Lithuanian seed legislation permitting public seed-exchange and suggestions for future improving. Lastly, events' guest from Danish Seed Savers outlined how did the seed law in Denmark developed with regards to hobby gardeners and seed-savers rights. The representatives from Plant Protection Agency were significantly involved in discussions and provided comments/ feedback. They were very much interested in Danish experience.

Topics of discussion included: recent seed legislation developments in Lithuania; why do we need to preserve heritage crop diversity; what are the so called "old varieties"; vegetable varieties bred in Lithuania; how Danish seed legislation functions with regard to seed-exchange and marketing of unregistered varieties; cooperation between seed-savers and authorities.

Overall, it can be said that both authorities and seed-savers expressed what current issues do they see from their point of view related to the topic of discussion. During coffee breaks friendly talks took place with agreements on future cooperation being made. What is more additonal parties, such as members of academia learned about the issues of this topic. Feedback was given that such a discussion was needed and it was timely.