Many of the current controversies over globalisation, intellectual property protection, biotechnology and the future of farming are played out in seed provision. This book provides a detailed look at the strengths and weaknesses of seed management in traditional farming systems, reviews the history of formal plant breeding and the origins of seed trade, and examines contemporary seed systems of industrialised and developing countries. The book also describes the major types of aid interventions in developing country seed systems and explains why many of these have not been successful. Examples are drawn from original research in Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as from an extensive review of the literature. The result is a comprehensive picture of seed provision that allows the reader to go beyond the oversimplified views that dominate debates about agricultural development.