ECO-PB Newsletter August 2019

Ago 29, 2019 | innovazione, Pratiche agroecologiche, Ricerca azione, Seminare il cambiamento | 0 commenti

European Consortium for Organic plant breeding (ECO-PB) è stato fondato nel 2001 con gli obiettivi di costituire un luogo di discussione e scambio di conoscenza e esperienze, avviare e supportare programmi di selezione e miglioramento per l’agricoltura biologica, definire i concetti di riferimento dal punto di vista scientifico di selezione e miglioramento per l’agricoltura biologica. RSR è socio di ECO-PB.

ECO-PB Newsletter August 2019

‘All techniques of genetic modification must be regulated’, the new publication of IFOAM EU available in all official European languagesIFOAM

Organic farming by definition does not apply genetic engineering (GE) but this eschewal of GE is endangered by the development of new techniques of genetic modification. Since their legal status was at stake for a long time, the decision of the European Court of Justice made clear that new genetic engineering techniques, e.g. CRISPR-Cas, are considered to be GE and their products must therefore be regulated as GMO. Biotech companies are now advocating for the reopening of Directive 2001/18 such that new techniques might be deregulated, what in turn would have tremendous implications for the organic sector. To stick to the commitment of the organic sector to stay free from GE-products it is essential to provide for a legal background, which safeguards the freedom of choice.

To better understand what is at stake and how the organic sector position itself in this ongoing discussion, the IFOAM EU published a leaflet available in all European official languages.

Banana fungus reaches the Americas

A banana-killing fungus (known as Fusarium wilt tropical race 4 (TR4)) that has been laying waste to crops in Asia and Australia for decades is now in the Americas, which produce the majority of the world’s banana exports. More information and a map of the countries in which TR4 is confirmed can be found in the Nature article.

The classic banana is severely threatened by a new breed of a very aggressive fungal disease. This is used as a shining example for the usefulness of new breeding methods and has fuelled the debate for simplified approval of new genetic engineering methods, in particular genome editing. At the same time, however, it shows that this massive threat to the bananas is based on a classical management error. Worldwide, Cavendish is mainly cultivated with a single banana clone, although the same problem arose in the 1960s, when the Gros Michel variety was cultivated worldwide, which suddenly became susceptible. Instead of correcting individual genes in a clone, more effort should be made to put the cultivated bananas on a much broader genetic basis.
Joint stakeholder statement EUCARPIA: Promoting sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity through open exchange of Digital Sequence Information

The 83 signatory organisations emphasize the importance of continued ready access to, and use of, DSI (digital sequence information) for advancing research and development that will help achieve the objectives of the CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity) and the NP (Nagoya Protocol), and recommend that CBD Parties:
Acknowledge the importance of unencumbered dissemination and use of DSI, including for fulfilling the objectives of the CBD and the NP.
Explicitly recognise that the open sharing of DSI represents a form of non-monetary benefit sharing.
Recognise the need for more fact-based information on how DSI is collected, generated, shared and used in biological research, as well as on the value which the unencumbered access and use of DSI represents for furthering the objectives of the CBD and the NP. Such value is created by, for instance, facilitating biological research, taxonomic studies to deepen the understanding of biodiversity, and international research collaboration. The submissions by a wide variety of stakeholders already provide examples in this regard.
Acknowledge the important role of major publicly accessible global databases holding DSI in providing an effective and inclusive system for sharing DSI globally.
Encourage capacity building to further enhance access to and use of DSI, in particular by developing countries and with a focus on their needs.
Recommend that international and national efforts should be focused on the effective and internationally coherent implementation of the current ABS framework to realise CBD objectives, instead of on reopening negotiations on the scope of the CBD.

Some initial results – Publications of the LIVESEED project LiveSeed Logo 003

First research results provide an overview of the current organizational models for variety testing for organic farming in some EU countries. Available at the following link.

The following report summarizes the main findings and a SWOT analysis of the experience gained in marketing populations in the context of the temporary experiment on the commercialisation of heterogeneous populations in the European Union. This can be found here.

On the project website you can inform yourself about the current developments and results of the LIVESEED project and keep up to date.

All eOrganic webinar recordings now available on YouTube

In case you missed any of eOrganic’s webinars this past winter/spring, you can now access all the records in the current lecture series, as well as any old presentations, online. The topics covered are very varied: from the analysis of the soil to the breeding of new varieties, the lectures cover a wide range of topics and explain them in videos from 15 minutes to 90 minutes. All records are available on their YouTube channel.

20th Organic World CongressOWC France

The 20th OWC will be held in Rennes (France) in September 21st – 27th next year. There will be a Pre-Conference on seeds starting on September 21st and the main conference follows on Sept 23rd – 25th 2020.

The overall objective of the pre-conference on seeds is to realize the important role of organic seed production and plant breeding to the organic movement. The aim of the event is to build relationships and knowledge exchange networks within the organic seed and plant breeding community in order to ensure that crop development reflects the IFOAM principles and brings maximum benefit for organic agriculture.

The six main topics of the pre-conference are:

  1. Preserving diversity of cultures, traditions, and foods is essential to cultivated biodiversity.
  2. Celebrating culinary diversity with all our senses and exploring the potential to breed for taste & flavour.
  3. Diversity of plant breeding methods, approaches and models is crucial for the transition to truly sustainable food systems.
  4. Participatory plant breeding and seeds as commons and as a tool to integrate biodiversity in society.
  5. Supporting the growth and success of the next generation of organic plant breeders and seed ambassadors.
  6. Innovating a systems approach for organic plant breeding to reflect IFOAM principles, addressing the needs of people and planet.

More information about the Organic World Congress.

Organic Seed Growers Conference in Corvallis (Oregon, USA)

The Organic Seed Alliance invites you to the 10th Organic Seed Growers Conference. The Organic Seed Growers Conference is the largest organic seed event in the U.S. and provides a two-day agenda of presentations, panel discussions, roundtables, scientific posters, variety tastings, networking events, and community celebration.

Mark your calendar to join the Organic Seed Alliance in Corvallis, Oregon, February 12–15, 2020, to celebrate 20 years of the Organic Seed Growers Conference and envision the future of the organic seed movement. Where have we been, where do we want to go, and how can we get there?
New Organic Tomato Foliar Disease Management Article

Members of the NIFA OREI funded Tomato Organic Management and Improvement (TOMI) project and their collaborators have published a new article on tomato disease management in the journal Crop Protection. In their field and greenhouse trials on the efficacy of different products for tomato foliar diseases, the researchers found that a copper product reduced severity of early appearing late blight, Septoria leaf spot and bacterial spot. Prestop, a product based on the soil fungus Gliocladium catenulatum, was convincing as an effective alternative to copper for early appearance of late blight; Sil-Matrix and Regalia, applied alone and in combination, were generally ineffective. Highlights of the findings and the abstract of the article are available at ScienceDirect.

More information about the TOMI project on their website.

Open position at FiBL Europe: plant breeder

FiBL wants to strengthen organic seed and plant breeding across Europe and is looking for a plant breeder with experience in project management to run workshops on financing models, strengthen network activities, elaboration of science based studies, consultation with EU commission and eventually support seed project acquisition in Africa.

Organic & fair from seed to T-shirt: Cotton exhibition.

The above-mentioned exhibition starts on August 10th and will be open until September 29th 2019. It opens daily from 9:30 am – 4:45 pm. The venue is the Botanic Garden of the University of Zurich. For questions, please contact Additional information can be found here.


XXIVth EUCARPIA Maize and Sorghum Conference
Integrating quantitative and molecular genetics to develop
new breeding methods in maize and sorghum
TUM School of Life Sciences Weihenstephan, Germany; October 7-9, 2019
More information

26th International Eucarpia Symposium Section Ornamentals
Erfurt, Germany; 1-5 September 2019
More information

Conference on Nano-Biotechnology and Plant Breeding Perspectives towards Food Security and Sustainability has been postponed till May 2020
There will be no separate conference of EUCARPIA section Cereals in September
More information

5th Conference of Cereal Biotechnology and Breeding
Jointly organized with EUCARPIA Cereals Section
Budapest, Hungary; 4-7 November, 2019
More information

Workshop on Implementing Plant-Microbe Interactions in Plant Breeding,
attached to miCROPe (abstract submission deadline extended until August 31st)
There have been problems with the registration system for the EUCARPIA – LIVESEED – ECO-PB workshop on plant-microbe interactions.
(International Symposium on Microbe-Assisted Crop Production)
Tulln (close to Vienna), Austria; 6 December, 2019
More information

XVII EUCARPIA Meeting of the Capsicum and Eggplant Workgroup
Avignon, France; 11-13 September 2019
Registration is open and closes at September 1st, 2019
More information



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