The research project is funded within the EU Horizon 2020 program, started in June 2017 and runs for 4 years until May 2021. LIVESEED has 49 partners covering 18 European countries. The consortium includes multiple actors from: research institutes, breeding companies, seed companies, organic associations (farmers, processors, retailers) and national authorities.
Boosting organic seeds of adapted cultivars
Seeds are the foundation of farming. Therefore, organic production should start with organic seed. Applying organic seed is mandatory according to the European organic regulation, but untreated conventional seed is still used to varying extent in different countries. Cultivars adapted to organic systems are key for realising the full potential of organic agriculture in Europe. Specific traits are required: tolerance or resistance against pest, diseases and weeds, nutrient use efficiency. However, few organisations invest in organic breeding programmes, mainly due to the low return on investment.
To reach 100% use of organic seed of adapted cultivars we need to overcome several challenges:
• Technical difficulties in organic seed production
• Insufficient organic breeding programmes
• Lack of information regarding the availability and demand of organic seed
• Inconsistent implementation of EU organic regulation
What LIVESEED will do
The objective of LIVESEED is to improve transparency and competitiveness of the organic seed and breeding sector and encourage greater use of organic seed.
• Foster harmonised implementation of the EU regulation on organic seed
• Strengthen organic seed databases in the whole EU
• Investigate socio-economic aspects related to production and use of organic seed
• Improve availability and quality of organic seed
• Develop guidelines for organic cultivar testing and registration
• Develop innovative breeding approaches to widen the choice of organic cultivars
Research will cover legumes, vegetables, fruit trees, cereals and fodder crops; considering different farming systems across Europe.