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France: Carrefour´s seed inititative „Forbidden Market“ successful
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Ninety per cent of the planet’s cultivable varieties have already died out in the 20th century, says FAO. The French retailer Carrefour joined producers in their fight to make fruit and vegetables grown from farmers' seeds available to consumers.
Last September Carrefour 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“, explains the enterprise. It marked the starting point for the “forbidden market” campaign.
This campaign was based on an extensive programme of action
Forty or so stores in the Paris region and Brittany began selling varieties of fruit and vegetables that had never previously been marketed in supermarkets and hypermarkets, including Armorican pink onions, Camus artichokes from Léon, Glas Ruz artichokes, half-length Cléder shallots, Angélique pumpkins, Kouign Amann butternut squash, Kanevedenn tomatoes etc. Carrefour also signed long-term agreements with producers with the aim of developing a sustainable line of farmers’ varieties. These seeds are selected by the farmers 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.
The Carrefour Foundation contributed to the campaign by setting up a Farmers' Seeds Company within the framework of a Biodiversity Fund support initiative that it has recently created worth €1 million, informes Carrefour. Also a petition calling for changes to the law
After seven months, more than 82,000 signatures were sent toJean-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, reports Carrefour. After the European Parliament approved the unrestricted marketing of farmers’ seeds in April, organic farmers’ seeds will no longer need to be included in official catalogues, with sales authorized for organic farmers from January 2021. New varieties are now sold in Carrefour stores stores. According to the company a source of pleasure for the customers.