How to adapt cultivar testing to the needs of the organic sector?

4 -6 February, Brussels, Belgium

In most of the EU, cultivar testing takes place under conventional conditions and testing criteria are adapted to the needs of the conventional system. This hampers the release of cultivars specifically bred for the organic system and organic farmers cannot identify cultivars suitable for their agricultural system.

In the first week of February, LIVESEED organised workshops to discuss adapted cultivar trials for organic agriculture, considering official trials for variety release and unofficial trials to evaluate the regional suitability of a cultivar.

The first workshop, organised in cooperation with Horizon 2020 project INVITE – INnovations in plant VarIety Testing in Europe, focused on the impacts of the new organic regulation (EU) 2018/848, more specifically of the definition of organic heterogeneous material and organic varieties suitable for organic production. At the workshop, organic and conventional breeders, representatives of national testing authorities and the Community Plant Variety Office, and policymakers discussed on the possibility to adapt DUS (Distinctness, Uniformity, Stability) and VCU (Value for Cultivation and Use) testing. The LIVESEED workshop directly fed into a meeting by the European Commission’s Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) that took place on the following day, to develop implementing acts for the temporary experiment on organic varieties suitable for organic production.

The second LIVESEED workshop was led by INRAE – National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (France). During the workshop experts discussed and designed innovative cultivar testing models for organic agriculture.

The full article is available on LIVESEED’s website.

Participants at the LIVESEED stakeholder workshop

LIVESEED has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727230 and by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation under contract number 17.00090. The information contained in this communication only reflects the author’s view. Neither REA nor SERI is responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

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