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Organic Seeds and Plant Breeding

Organic agriculture needs an independent plant breeding programme that considers the needs along the entire value chain. Regionally bred organic varieties are well adapted to the respective site conditions and relevant variety characteristics, such as weed suppression and disease tolerance, are given special consideration in organic breeding programmes. With its breeding research, FiBL makes a crucial contribution to the ecological and economic efficiency of sustainable organic farming.

To strengthen organic breeding, FiBL examines various financing models and marketing concepts and advocates optimal framework conditions for organic breeding and variety approval. Some exemplary projects:

  • To increase seed availability, FiBL developed the OrganicXseeds organic seed database with the aim of increasing the transparency of the organic seed market throughout the EU. FiBL maintains the official database for organic seeds and seedlings in Switzerland, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Sweden, Belgium and Luxembourg. OrganicXseeds is the most advanced and used database for organic seeds in Europe. Thanks to its modular development, OrganicXseeds can be adapted to country-specific requirements and is also available to other interested countries.
  • To strengthen the organic seed market and organic breeding throughout the European Union, FiBL is working on the EU Horizon 2020 project LIVESEED. FiBL cooperates in a very broad consortium with 49 project partners from universities, seed trade, breeding and associations from 18 countries. The aim of the project is to significantly increase the availability of organic seeds in the EU and to considerably improve the legal framework for the breeding of organic varieties and the propagation of organic seeds. From the legal framework, cultivation aspects, new breeding methods and socio-economic considerations of business models to target group-oriented communication and training, the LIVESEED project covers all aspects of organic seeds and breeding.
  • FiBL is a board member of the European Consortium for Organic Plant Breeding (ECO-PB). The network was founded in April 2001 by European organic farming research institutes as an international platform for the exchange of knowledge and experience on organic plant breeding and seed production.
  • FiBL is a member of the task force on seeds of the Bund Ökologische Lebensmittelwirtschaft (BÖLW). We advise the BÖLW and its lobby work on organic seeds, organic breeding and the EU Organic Regulation.
  • As administrator of the OrganicXseeds database, FiBL is a long-standing member of the two seed expert groups "Vegetables" and "Arable Crops" for the improved implementation of the legally binding seed database in Germany.