Seed legislation is a challenging, and often rapidly-evolving topic. The Seed Sovereignty Programme aims to help our networks navigate the current legislation and advocate for fairer legislation.


Heterogeneous Grain Advocacy Work


This paper was pulled together by a collaborating group of researchers, farmers, bakers, and grain advocates across our network (participating groups and individuals can be found on the final page of the paper) advocating the importance of diverse grain and cereal production within food and farming systems, and for such production to be supported through appropriate legislation. This includes recognising the value of seeds adapted to local farming systems and the contribution that diverse seed populations make towards building resilient food chains and adapting to climate change.

EU seed legislation, through its temporary experiment on cereal populations, and the new provisions on organic heterogeneous material, has enabled the successful development of commercial supply chains that are adapted to deal with non-uniform cereals, pulses, and other grains. British growers and other stakeholders that are working to develop such supply chains no longer have the benefit of this provision and are disadvantaged until suitable provision is made within UK legislation. These developments should be mirrored in applicable UK legislation, and further enable stakeholders working
to develop such supply chains and production models.

This advocacy paper was presented to DEFRA and APHA in early 2022.


Inclusive and Proportionate Vegetable Seed Legislation Advocacy Work


The Small Package Independent Seed Suppliers Forum (SPISS) is an informal forum of associations active in the promotion of crop and seed diversity and diverse seed systems, as well as companies specialised in the sale of seeds in small quantities to non-professional and professional users. The Forum was established in August 2020 to discuss policy and technical issues revolving around seed diversity, particularly in the lead-up to Brexit.

The SPISS Forum is advocating for inclusive and proportionate seed laws, which uphold and support local seed systems and all actors engaged in the conservation and sustainable use of plant diversity, through the exchange, sale, or participatory breeding of seeds, plant propagating material and seedlings.

This advocacy paper was presented to DEFRA and APHA in early 2022, and discussions are ongoing. DEFRA launched a Plant Varieties and Seeds (PVS) Strategy call for ideas in late 2022, and updates are expected throughout 2023.


For more information on either advocacy paper please contact Sinéad –


General Legislation Advice for Seed

Legislation differs depending on the country you are growing in, and depending on whether you are growing seed for a seller or aiming to sell seed independently.

Under Contract: When growing under contract for an established seed company, it is best to speak with that company regarding any measures you may need to take. If you would like to know more about this process, please feel free to reach out to a seed company in your area or Contact Us to put you in touch with one for guidance.

Selling independently: If you are planning to sell seed independently in Great Britain, you will need to be registered with DEFRA in order to do so. However, do not be put off by this process! There are agencies on hand to help, and if in doubt you can contact your local coordinator for advice.

England, Scotland and Wales: The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) manage this process and can be contacted directly for advice and guidance via telephone 0208 026 5993 or email

Northern Ireland: Seed certification is managed by the Environmental Farming Branch which can be contacted via telephone:  +44(0) 28 9052478 or email: More information is available on their website here.

Republic of Ireland: The Department for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food manages seed certification in Ireland. You can contact them directly here or call on +353 1 607 2000. You can also learn more on their website here.