If we look at modern agriculture, we will find that very little or almost nothing resembles agriculture practiced in the early twentieth century.
And it has not only been the technology and the means of production that have changed drastically in the last century, the seeds used today are only a fraction of those available around 1900.
In fact, we do not have to go back so much in time to realize how much this panorama has changed. In 1903, a farmer who wanted to plant a piece of land had at his disposal 500 different types of cabbage, 400 varieties of tomatoes and peas and about 285 types of cucumbers.
According to a survey by the International Rural Development Foundation these numbers have been reduced by about 93% in recent years.
Thus, in 1983 it was only possible to plant about 28 types of cabbage, 25 varieties of peas, 79 qualities of tomatoes and only 16 species of cucumbers.
But how to explain this situation? The answer may lie in a phenomenon known as “seed consolidation,” in which companies such as Monsanto have been betting on genetically modified seed patents that are then sold to farmers.
And how to save the seeds to plant the following year is considered a breach of action, a system was created to oblige farmers to buy the seeds year after year. Which is a huge change compared to the time when farmers prepared their crops from year to year.
“With the profitability of the seed market increasing significantly over the past 15 years, largely because of patents and contracts, the money and incentives given to public institutions to develop new varieties are declining. Farmers also save less seeds, “warns the Worldwatch Institute.
As a result of research work focused on the North American reality, the documentary Seed: the Untold Story is now coming to theaters in the USA, with the aim of presenting the seed market in this country with a global impact.