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Analysis of the alternative agriculture's seeds market sector: history and development

By P. Barbieri, S. Bocchi

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Alternative agricultural systems, like organic and local agriculture, are becoming increasingly important in Europe to the detriment of conventional methods. As a matter of fact, sustainable agriculture, which started as a niche sector, has been able to conquer a significant share of the European agro-food market. Institutional promotion along with increasing consumer demand has allowed for the development of different agricultural models, from the farm to the fork, with an increasing focus on the ethical issues associated with the agro-food production system. For instance, the organic agriculture agro-food chain is based on four principles, namely health, ecology, fairness and care (IFOAM 2004) with the goal of competing in the global agro-food market while respecting the environment, livestock, producers, and consumers. Within these themes, the seed market represents an extremely complex part of the whole picture. The present paper analyses the historical evolution of the seed sector by identifying the main issues related to sustainable agricultural systems and protection of biodiversity. It follows the identification of different seed markets based on different farm types. The two aspects are then discussed and matched in order to identify the main issues characterizing the sector. A review of possible solutions to those problems, taking into account their ethics, is also provided.

Publication Title Journal of Agricultural & Environmental Ethics
Volume 28
Issue 4
Pages 789-801
ISBN/ISSN 0893-4282
Language English
Author Address DiSAA - Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie e Ambientali - Produzione, Territorio, Agroenergia, Universita degli Studi di Milano, Milan,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Alternative methods
  3. Biodiversity
  4. Conservation
  5. Constraints
  6. Ethics
  7. Europe
  8. Farms
  9. History
  10. Markets
  11. organic farming
  12. peer-reviewed
  13. seeds
  14. sustainability
  1. peer-reviewed