Fascinating and just as complicated, did you know seeds fly, tumble, glide, spill, splash, float, spin, hop, creep, pop, cling, hook, drift and ride to travel far and wide? Seeds matter, not only to new plant life, but it is the start of each day of our life. Right from our morning coffee to the cotton in our clothes, seeds support lifestyles, diets, economies, and civilizations around the world. The impact of seeds on our lives is enormous. It is also the crux of agriculture. And these little seeds shaped human histories in a big way. Fascinating because in the last three decades, plant breeding and seed production have been radically transformed.
The seed value chain has grown more complex since seeds are not produced in farming communities anymore, posing serious threats to seed diversity and future food security. Farming activities have shifted from being conducted by a heterogeneous mix of public sector breeding institutions, a few large firms, and hundreds of medium and small sized companies, with the active involvement by farmers. Today these activities are concentrated by a handful of multinational agro-chemical firms, with far fewer small and medium sized firms, significantly reduced public-sector participation, and gradual exclusion of farmers from participation in breeding activities. Because agricultural crops are domesticated, their evolution is in our hands. But plant genetic diversity is disappearing. And preserving biodiversity in agricultural crops has led to ideas of sustainable farming. Today the seed market is more tightened with stringent laws that regulate seed sales across borders. Read the module to learn why seeds matter.