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Carrefour’s 'Black Market' - 7 months after launch

Last month, we wrote a piece on France’s Carrefour supermarket chain, highlighting the fact that the agricultural seeds market is covered by European legislation, in effect banning no fewer than two million varieties of France-grown seeds. Ninety percent of the planet’s cultivable varieties have already died out in the 20th century.

This results in less varied diets and more limited biodiversity. Last September, Carrefour joined producers in their fight to make fruit and vegetables grown from farmers' seeds available to consumers and called on the public authorities to get the law changed. This approach was driven by Carrefour’s desire to promote high-quality food and biodiversity. It marked the starting point for their “black market” campaign.

Seven months later, what progress has there been?

The public was made aware of the situation and asked to support the campaign, and their response was extremely positive: the online petition at Change.org was a success, gathering 82,000 signatures. It was sent to Jean-Claude Juncker at the European Commission, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and two French ministers, Nicolas Hulot and Stéphane Travers.

Changes are now being made to European legislation. The European Parliament approved the unrestricted marketing of farmers’ seeds in April, so organic farmers’ seeds will no longer need to be included in official catalogues, with sales authorized for organic farmers from January 2021. This advance is likely to be signed off by EU ministers when they meet on 22 May - a formality, according to observers.

According to an article on carrefour.com, new varieties are now sold in stores: these are seeds that farmers select themselves and then cultivate from one year to the next. As real experts, they are able to exploit the full potential of a seed grown in different climate and soil conditions. The resulting fruit and vegetables are all different out in the field. This practice is essential for maintaining the planet's biodiversity.

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