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Right Seeds? Commons-based rights on seeds and seed varieties as a driver for socio-ecological transformations in plant cultivation

Seeds, which were traditionally a public good, are increasingly commercialized by strengthened property rights and growing market powers of transnational agribusiness. This trend is accompanied by increases in productivity, yet also by the loss of food sovereignty and environmental sustainability. For sustainable plant cultivation, new approaches to seed systems, which promote food sovereignty, agro-biodiversity and the preservation of diverse agricultural ecosystem services, are needed.

The objective of the research project "RightSeeds?" is to investigate the extent to which common-based seed systems have the potential to drive socio-ecological transformations in crop production and how this can be furthered. In specific, the project will analyze success factors for the valuation of ecosystem services in the context of commons, initiate learning processes on national and international level, and develop promising business models, breeding approaches as well as communication and governance strategies for participating seed initiatives. The IÖW focuses on organizational forms of social entrepreneurs and their role in the provision of common goods, as well as on market potentials of commons-based seed Systems.

The project is part of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research's Social-Ecological Research funding program.

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IÖW Project Team