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Companies that produce a large selection of seeds.

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Companies that manufacture and sell seeds to commercial and home gardeners. Seed production is a multi-billion dollar industry with facilities and locations all over the world. While large specialist growers produce most seeds, small growers who produce only one or two crop types also produce large amounts. Larger seed companies supply commercial resellers and wholesalers. They sell to vegetable and fruit farmers, as well as companies that package seed and offer it to the home gardener.

Hybrid to open-pollinated

Most seed firms or resellers issue a catalog for seeds to be sowed the next spring in early winter. Amateur gardeners eagerly await these catalogs, as the winter months are spent planning the following year’s gardening. The National Agricultural Library has the greatest collection of nursery and seed trade catalogs in the country, with catalogs dating from the late 18th century to the present.

From hybrids to open-pollinated wild species, seed company produces a large variety. They have extensive research facilities to improve the uniformity and attraction of plants. Disease resistance, greater yields, dwarf habit, and brilliant or new colors are examples. 

Plant Cultivars

Plant cultivars are often sold under the company’s own brand and protected by international rules from being grown for seed production by others. As the allotment movement and gardening have grown in popularity, so have tiny independent seed companies. Many of them work to save seeds and promote diversity. 

They often sell organic and open-pollinated seeds rather than hybrids. Many of these are heirlooms. Using ancient types keeps the gene pool diverse. Modern seed types are often the same as those cultivated by commercial producers, therefore qualities advantageous to them (e.g. veggies maturing at the same time) may be unsuitable for home gardening.

Commercial Seed Sector

From 1994 to 2010, the commercial seed sector consolidated into six key companies, driving up seed prices. These businesses introduced six GE crops with two traits: herbicide tolerance and insect resistance. Monsanto initially introduced RoundUp Ready seeds in 1996.

By 2019, the commercial seed corporations controlled 60% of global proprietary seed sales. The sector has lost its competitive edge, and economists predict fewer options and higher pricing for farmers. The firms’ investment in Intellectual Property may also lead to less innovation and more restrictions on seeds, affecting global food security. In response to these mergers and acquisitions, activists have suggested a UN Treaty on Competition to effect global change.

Final Say

In spite of the fact that seed firms were not particularly interested in varietal development, they were still working on the successful commodification of seeds. Because there were so few markets for seeds at the time, there was no reason to safeguard seed breeding practices. It was the seed industry’s initial objective to just develop a market, and they continued to consider congressional seed distribution as the most significant barrier to growth. 

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