Insufficient quantity of organic seed (< 50 %) of very limited number of cultivars with partly reduced quality are on the market due to regulatory (general derogation for non-organic seed), technical (pests and diseases), and socio-economic (higher production costs) constraints.
The availability of organic seed on the market is limited due to several reasons including:
(i) bottlenecks in seed quality and vigour at the production level and
(ii) lack of skilled, equipped, and well-trained farmers able to propagate and produce high quality organic seed
Seed health and vigour can leverage the potential and resilience of organic cropping systems. At present, seed health is almost exclusively oriented at controlling seed-borne pathogens by testing and eradication through sanitation treatments. However, current seed treatments are likely to reduce the functionality of the microbiome, which has recently emerged as a key factor to aid the seedling against pathogens or abiotic stresses. LIVESEEDING will advance the currently scarce scientific knowledge on this topic. The Seed Health Strategy issued in H2020-LIVESEED will be tested and validated in practical organic seed production cases involving project partners and Living Labs. Selected seed treatments will be advanced through collaborative trials involving researchers and seed producers, aimed at fostering strategies to restore the microbiome and upscaling their industrial use by either bio-priming or coating the seeds with beneficial microorganisms. To secure high quality seeds, farmers, researchers, small-, medium- and large-scale seed companies, national authorities and ICT developers will work together in this project.
Main objective of WP3 is to increase the availability of organic plant reproductive material on the market.