Bingenheim Seed Day: Impulses for organic breeding and organic food trade
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Last week, around 350 actors from cultivation, trade, politics and research met in Bingenheim, Germany, to jointly develop a vision: the long-term realisation of an independent organic agriculture based on organic and biodynamic seed work and breeding. Priska Hinz, Minister of Agriculture in the Federal State of Hesse, opened the Breeding and Variety Days and emphasised: "Breeding is a cultural asset! We need independent plant research. It must not remain the case that large corporations dominate the seed market."
On the trial areas of Bingenheimer Saatgut AG und Kultursaat e. V., around 200 varieties and breeding lines of leek, bush beans and courgettes, among others, could be examined. The central concern of the organizers was to exchange information with partners from cultivation practice and trade even more intensively and to find structures through which more non-hybrid varieties end up on the organic vegetable shelf. The international dialogue forum has clearly shown what practicable approaches might look like: Wholesalers from Italy, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany presented inspiring projects and marketing examples from their respective countries and discussed existing difficulties and possible solutions for promising customer communication with the visitors.
Dangers of the new genetic engineering for the specialized trade
The current ruling of the European Court of Justice on the new genetic engineering procedures has been thoroughly discussed at the event. For the time being, it is clear that all new genetic engineering processes must be regulated under European genetic engineering law in accordance with the precautionary principle as genetic engineering. "We very much welcome this decision, because the introduction of genetic engineering plants in the fields would fundamentally threaten our organic seed and food production," said Gebhard Rossmanith, CEO of Bingenheimer Saatgut AG. Dr. Angelika Hilbeck of the ETH Zurich also confirmed this assessment in her lecture. The European Court of Justice had acted scientifically correct. However, the new technologies could under no circumstances be considered as "safe" at that point. Petra Boie, CEO of Bingenheimer Saatgut AG, invited the visitors to sign an appeal to the Federal Minister of Agriculture Julia Klöckner to implement the judgement in order to counterbalance the increasing voices of the supporters of genetic engineering.
Together with Günter Schliebusch and Petra Boie, natural food retailers discussed dangers of new genetic engineering for the specialist trade. The unanimous result: Organic breeding is the only long-term alternative for quality-oriented organic farming. However, far too much of the seeds used in organic farming still come from conventional production and breeding. However, end customers assume that an organic carrot grows from organic seeds and has been organically bred.
Bingenheimer Saatgut AG and its network partner Kultursaat e.V. stand for the ideals of organic farming in the field of breeding and seeds. Kultursaat carries out methodological research and development of new and proven non-hybrid vegetables. The practical work is done on-farm - hybrid breeding is explicitly excluded. Bingenheimer Saatgut AG organises the seed propagation of the varieties under organic farming conditions and distributes the organic seeds so that the varieties are available for companies as well as consumers.
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