The seeds used in agriculture are different from those that exist in non-cultivated nature. Until several thousand years ago the enormous diversity of peasant varieties of rice, potatoes, cabbages or barley did not exist as such. The richness of our nutrition today is based on the knowledge, practices, visions and needs of the peasant communities around the world that created them in the first place.
Despite this, agricultural seeds are not a permanent creation. At each life cycle, their qualities depend on their interaction with those that reproduce them. For example, the diversity of maize varieties are reflected in needs of the various peoples of the Americas—the different climates in the valleys, coasts or mountains; varying tastes and cultural preferences; and the changing qualities of the soils in different regions, whether rich or poor, rocky or humid. This was also the case in the Middle East where wheat and barley varieties were developed as well as in other parts of the world with all other crops.
This way of reproducing seeds according to local needs was kept in place for thousands of years. Although it was deformed by European colonialism that imposed monoculture plantations and many parts of the world in order to produce commodities such as cocoa, coffee, or sugar, this system did not change radically until the early 20th century.
– From On April 17 We Defend our Seeds and Fight Against the Seed Industry, published by Via Campesina.