I have only just begun thinking about this. Apart from plants (including seeds of such plants) of ornamental merit, which appeal to gardeners in the UK (and other Western countries), what other seeds/plant material could be counted as a 'Genetic Resource'? Is the Nagoya Protocol going to lead to restrictions on their collection and export from the Himalaya and lower elevation districts of India, to us in the West? It may come as a surprise some of the examples I list and comment upon below. No doubt there would be an uproar if this happened - but surely some of these should be more of a priority than species destined for British Gardens (especially as I have outlined the BENEFITS of more collection of seed of garden-worthy plants from the Himalaya, not a kind of PROHIBITION).
1. 'Asian Rice' (ORYZA SATIVA) - India supplies 65% of the overseas basmati rice market! Rice is a grass seed.... Oh dear, what a crazy idea to ban the export of plant seeds...
2. 'Tea' (CAMELLIA SINENSIS) - originates in SW China. What about all the Darjeeling, Assam and other 'varieties' India exports! Will they now pay China a %age of all sales? It is most certainly a 'Genetic Resource' and originally drunk for medicinal purposes.
3. 'Black Pepper' (PIPER NIGRUM) - native of the Western Ghats; it is the world's most traded spice. 'Black Pepper' comes from cooked undried fruit; 'White Pepper' comes from the ripe seeds. Vietnam is now the world's largest exporter - is India going to demand a FAIR SHARE OF THIS?
4. 'Pomegranate' (PUNICA GRANATUM) - the juicy gem-like seeds are eaten. Originating in the region of modern-day Iran, are the Iranian authorities going to demand a "cut" for any pomegranates India exports? Pomegranates are utilised in Bhutanese Medicine (supplies were imported from India for use at the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, Thimphu).
6. 'True Cardamon' (ELETARIA CARDAMOMUM) - native to India. This was introduced to Guatemala before World War I, now the world's largest exporter. Will they be paying a %age to India in the future?
To be continued.