Two webinars and workshops on Organic Heterogeneous Materials (OHM) were organised by OMKI and F & Z Dottenfelderhof, first one on June 6, and the second one on September 15. Workshops gathered nearly 60 researchers, breeders, seed producers and representatives of competent authorities, providing a platform to share experiences and gain insights to further support the implementation of the OHM regulation with a focus on traceability, seed production and marketing aspects.
During the first half of the programmes, the presentations aimed to set the scene and share all the relevant and latest information and research findings concerning OHM. The June event featured presentations by Riccardo Bocci from Rete Semi Rurali (IT) on the policy background, Isabelle Goldringer from INRAE (FR) on population breeding strategies and Anders Borgen from Agrologica on the notification and marketing of OHM, which is already available in Denmark. Finally, Carl Vollenweider from F & Z Dottenfelderhof (DE) emphasised the importance of seed production and presented the first results of the European survey on OHM, conducted within the LiveSeeding-project.
The second online event in September has helped to get a deeper understanding of the prerequisites for the market success of OHM. Moreover, best practice examples for OHM research and marketing were collected. Ilsa Phillips from IFOAM Europe (BE) summarised relevant aspects on the EU proposal for the new seed marketing law, followed by Charlotte Bickler from the Organic Research Centre (UK), sharing experience across Europe on seed multiplication, marketing and official controls. Sebastian Kussmann from gzpk (CH) has then explored pathways for the introduction of OHM as a niche innovation and Michael Schneider from FiBL (CH) gave a detailed account of state-of-the-art methods for genomic OHM tracing.
The second part of both events was devoted to breakout room discussions in smaller groups in order to gather the participants’ experiences on OHM notification, marketing and quality seed production as well as their feedback on the OHMTrack tool, of which a demo version was presented in June. The September workshop also provided an opportunity to better understand and discuss the legal framework of OHM as well as OHM maintenance, seed production and prospects for breeders.
(Maike Bender, Judit Fehér, Gyöngyi Györéné Kis, Carl Vollenweider, organizing team)