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Breeding: Organic right from the start

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Seed breeding was an important topic at Biofach.

Seed breeding was an important topic at Biofach. Photo Karin Heinze

The Biofach  special show “Organic right from the start” was to illustrate what organic breeding has already achieved. The aim was to show which areas require more work if the independence of organic agriculture in the breeding of plant varieties and animal species is to be preserved and expanded further.

Organic breeding for independent organic cultivation

Plant breeding is vitally important to organic agriculture. Markus Johann, bioverita’s managing director, said: “Organic farmers are dependent on varieties that provide good results without the aid of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Varieties that meet the requirements of organic farming and organic producers are not yet available for many cultures. And where they are available, their future is anything but secure, because the threat posed to the organic industry by new genetic engineering methods and the fact that the industry is becoming more and more concentrated across a few suppliers is immense. The work of organic breeders is helping the organic movement to become more independent and is also acting as a counterpoint to the increasing amount of power falling into the hands of large seed multinationals. Thanks to the many years of development work carried out by pioneers, organic grain farmers today are able to have organically bred varieties that are already well established in the market.”

The German Bundesverband Naturkost Naturwaren (BNN) e. V. (Federal Association of Natural Food Products) emphasized the great importance of organic breeding in the animal and plant sector. Biological breeding is the future topic of the whole industry ", explained BNN Managing Director Elke Röder. Organic farming relies on robust and site-adapted varieties. In the livestock sector, breeds are required which are not bred for high performance but are resistant and adapted to the feeding conditions of organic farming."

More attention for breeding

All in all, more attention, more support and more appreciation are needed for the complex but so necessary breeding work,"said Röder. The complexity also makes it a challenge to sensitize society and politics to the topic. Therefore, the Biofach is the right place to stage biological breeding, said Elke Röder.

Es diskutierten über Bio-Züchtung (v.l): Elke Röder (BNN), Inga Günther (ÖTZ), Amadeus Zschunke (Sativa, Bioveritas). Petra Boie (Bingenheimer Saatgut (nicht auf dem Foto).

There were discussions about organic breeding (from left): Elke Röder (BNN), Inga Günther (ÖTZ), Amadeus Zschunke (Sativa, Bioveritas). Petra Boie (Bingenheim seeds (not on the photo).(Photo BNN)

The breeding initiatives that were presenting their results at the special area:

  • Apfel:gut Obstzüchtung (organic fruit breeding)                                 
  • Bingenheimer Saatgut AG (organic seed breeding)               
  • bioverita - für ein Bio von Anfang an (for organic from the outset)
  • Ellenberg’s Kartoffelvielfalt GbR (potato diversity)
  • Forschung & Züchtung Dottenfelder Hof - LBS e.V. (research and breeding)
  • Getreidezüchtung Peter Kunz (grain breeding)
  • Getreidezüchtungsforschung Darzau (grain breeding research)
  • Keyserlingk Institute             
  • Kultursaat e.V. (vegetable varieties)                         
  • Ökologische Tierzucht gGmbH (organic animal breeding)
  • Poma Culta Apfelzüchtung (organic apple breeding)
  • ReinSaat KG (organic seed breeding)                                     
  • Saat:gut e.V. (organic plant breeding)                                        
  • Sativa Rheinau AG (organic seed breeding)

Zukunftsstiftung Landwirtschaft – Saatgut- und Tierzuchtfonds (foundation providing funding for seed and animal breeding)      


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