Seed System Governance

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A seed system is the value chain of seed savers, plant breeders, distributors and farmers, who collectively define, breed, and distribute the seeds of our food crops. Governing seed systems is a complex problem, as it wrestles with issues of innovation, intellectual property, food security, and agroecological resilience. These issues become increasingly important in the face of climate change, as seeds and their genetic diversity are one of the greatest tools we have for climate change adaptation. As climate becomes more variable, crop breeding will need to adjust accordingly and farmers will need access to a greater range of novel genetic resources. Yet as these needs become more evident, seed systems are becoming more privatized and consolidated, demanding a clearer idea of how genetic material is and ought to be governed. This collection of research projects focuses on understanding what attributes of seed systems make them more or less resilient to climate variability so to inform future directions for governing seeds and agricultural systems.

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