Multi-actor project LIVESEED aims to reach 100% use of organic seed from cultivars that are adapted to organic growing conditions
For organic agriculture to achieve its full potential, it needs organic seeds from cultivars that are adapted to organic growing conditions. Organic farmers need robust cultivars with a higher genetic diversity that can adjust to unexpected stresses and weather events. However, organic seed production and organic breeding initiatives face constraints. Additionally, the availability of organic seeds varies quite a lot between countries.
The multi-actor project LIVESEED was created to boost organic seed and plant breeding in Europe and to create a level playing field by including farmers, breeders, seed companies, national and European authorities and certification bodies. LIVESEED partners work together to harmonise implementation of the EU organic regulation, develop guidelines for organic cultivar testing and registration, improve seed availability and health, investigate socio-economic aspects, develop innovative breeding approaches, and establish organic breeding networks in Europe.
The LIVESEED project has already contributed in many ways to strengthen organic seed production and the breeding sector across the EU:
An overview of the production and use of organic seed in the EU was carried out for the first time and serves as a reference for EU and national policymakers. LIVESEED identified incentives for farmers to use and produce organic seeds and developed a European router database making it easier for organic seed suppliers to market organic seed abroad.
Innovative breeding strategies are being developed to close breeding gaps in various crops, ultimately achieving more biodiversity in food and farming. Participatory approaches, thus including the farmer in the selection process, will ensure that the farmer’s specific needs and constraints are taken into account.
LIVESEED is developing adjusted protocols to assist in organic cultivar registration and innovative low-budget testing models. Experimental trials are conducted to develop recommended cultivar lists for selected crops on a local level.
LIVESEED has offered recommendations on, for instance, the characterisation of organic heterogeneous materials for the new organic regulation. LIVESEED’s toolbox helps to identify and describe organic heterogeneous material which fits to the needs of organic production and has the potential to contribute to yield stability under adverse environmental conditions.
LIVESEED is coordinated by IFOAM EU and FiBL-Switzerland and involves 50 partners from 17 countries throughout Europe. The project is financed by Horizon 2020 and runs from 2017 to 2021.