Changing the future of food and farming

Research projects

LIVESEED: Boosting organic seed and plant breeding across Europe

LIVESEED: Boosting organic seed and plant breeding across Europe

Code : 727230

Contract Period : 01/06/2017 - 31/05/2021

Project Webpage : http://liveseed.eu/

Main Funder : EU H2020

ORC Staff Contact : Ambrogio Costanzo

EU H2020 research project boosting organic seed and plant breeding across Europe. 35 partners – 18 countries

Project Aims:

The objective of this 4-year EU funded project is to improve the performance and sustainability of organic agriculture. Aiming to boost organic seed and plant breeding efforts, and increasing the availability of cultivars adapted to organic growing conditions.

The project will help to establish a level playing field in the organic seed market across Europe, improve the competitiveness of the organic seed and breeding sector, and encourage greater use of organic seeds by farmers. LIVESEED will improve guidelines for cultivar testing and strategies for ensuring seed health. It will develop novel breeding approaches suited for organic farming. Finally, it will investigate socio-economic aspects related to the use and production of organic seed and their interaction with relevant (EU) regulations. The LIVESEED project is coordinated by IFOAM EU and consists of 35 partners from 18 countries.

ORC's Role:

ORC will lead the socio-economic work-package to identify business and governance models to improve the efficiency of organic seed supply chains in the market place. We will explore:

  • stakeholders’ attitudes to organic seed, including the costs and benefits for farmers and for other market players to use and invest in organic seeds, and
  • the impact of potential measures to improve the market and the regulatory arrangements.

Alongside this we are drawing together research on the role that heterogenous crops, and breeding
for organic systems, can play in improving the performance of organic agriculture. This will build
upon our experiences marketing the ORC Wakelyns Population and the associated regulatory
framework. We will also undertake traditional and farmer-led variety testing to increase our knowledge
of existing varieties’ performance in organic systems and explore how stakeholders from across the
value chain can be involved in this process and feed into future breeding efforts.

Current progress highlights:

ORC has launched an online survey to investigate farmers’ opinions of, and experience with organic seed and propagation material. The aim of the survey is to help us to understand farmers’ reasons for using/not using organic seed. This is an opportunity for farmers and growers to give honest answers and have a say on policy and research needs in this field. The survey is anonymous and it should take about 15 minutes to answer the questions. Please go to the survey at https://bit.ly/2QT2fUH

Read interview with Kimberley Bell of the Small Food Bakery YQ and the rise of an alternative grain network

How to implement the organic regulation to increase production & use of organic seed

Project leader and partners:

  • INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF ORGANIC AGRICULTURE MOVEMENTS EUROPEAN UNION REGIONAL GROUP (IFOAM EU)
  • FORSCHUNGSINSTITUT FUR BIOLOGISCHENLANDBAU STIFTUNG (FiBL-CH)
  • DIKTYO GIA TIN VIOPOIKILOTITA KAI TIN OIKOLOGIA STI GEORGIA (Aegilops)
  • OSTERREICHISCHE AGENTUR FUR GESUNDHEIT UND ERNAHRUNGSSICHERHEIT GMBH (AGES)
  • AGROLOGICA
  • EIDGENOESSISCHES DEPARTEMENT FUER WIRTSCHAFT, BILDUNG UND FORSCHUNG (Agroscope)
  • AGRORESURSU UN EKONOMIKAS INSTITUTS (AREI)
  • BINGENHEIMER SAATGUT AG (BSG)
  • STICHTING BIONEXT (Bionext)
  • FONDATSIYA ZA BIOLOGICHNO ZEMEDELIEBIOSELENA (Bioselena)
  • BUNDESVERBAND NATURKOST NATURWAREN EV (BNN)
  • CONSIGLIO PER LA RICERCA IN AGRICOLTURA E L’ANALISI DELL’ECONOMIA AGRARIA (CREA)
  • STICHTING WAGENINGEN RESEARCH (WR)
  • FELDSAATEN FREUDENBERGER GMBH & CO. KOMMANDITGESELLSCHAFT (FSF)
  • FORSCHUNGSINSTITUT FUR BIOLOGISCHEN LANDBAU DEUTSCHLAND EV (FiBL-DE)
  • INSTITUT NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE AGRONOMIQUE (INRA)
  • INSTITUTO POLITECNICO DE COIMBRA (IPC)
  • INSTITUT TECHNIQUE DE L’AGRICULTURE BIOLOGIQUE (ITAB)
  • INSTYTUT UPRAWY NAWOZENIA I GLEBOZNAWSTWA, PANSTWOWY INSTYTUT BADAWCZY (IUNG)
  • LIVING SEEDS SEMENTES VIVAS, SA (LSSV)
  • LOUIS BOLK INSTITUUT (LBI)
  • MAGYAR TUDOMANYOS AKADEMIA AGRARTUDOMANYI KUTATOKOZPONT (MTK-ATK)
  • ÖKOLOGIAI MEZOGAZDASAGI KUTATOINTEZET KOZHASZNU NONPROFIT KFT (ÖMKI)
  • PROGRESSIVE FARMING TRUST LTD T/A THE ORGANIC RESEARCH CENTRE LBG (ORC)
  • RETE SEMI RURALI (RSR)
  • SATIVA RHEINAU AG (Sativa)
  • SOCIEDAD ESPANOLA DE AGRICULTURA ECOLOGICA (SEAE)
  • SEGES P/S (SEGES)
  • INSTITUTUL NATIONAL DE CERCETARE-DEZVOLTARE AGRICOLA FUNDULEA (NARDI)
  • UNION BIO SEMENCES (UBIOS)
  • UNIVERSIDADE DE EVORA (UEV)
  • UNIVERSITA POLITECNICA DELLE MARCHE (UNIVPM)
  • UNIVERSITAET KASSEL (KU)
  • VITALIS BIOLOGISCHE ZADEN B.V (Vitalis)
  • UNIVERSITAT POLITECNICA DE VALENCIA (UPV)

Publications:

Orsini S, Costanzo A, Solfanelli F, Zanoli R, Padel S, Messmer MM, Winter E, Schaefer F (2020). Factors Affecting the Use of Organic Seed by Organic Farmers in Europe. Sustainability12, 8540: https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208540