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Participatory Plant Breeding for Organic Farming in France, the cauliflower experience at the PAIS


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Chable, Dr Véronique and Le Lagadec, François (2005) Participatory Plant Breeding for Organic Farming in France, the cauliflower experience at the PAIS. Paper at: 15th IFOAM Organic World Congress: Shaping sustainable systems, Adelaide - Australie, 20-23 September 2005. [Unpublished]

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The availability of organic seeds is a great problem for organic farmers. The private sector of plant breeding meets difficulties to answer to the organic farming (OF) demand, characterized by small quantities and a great diversity of criteria and by breeding methods which respect the natural species characteristics (see IFOAM Draft Standard on organic seeds and plant breeding). So, the organic sector is organizing breeding and seed production by itself
In France, since 2001, a Brittany regional organic umbrella (IBB, Inter Bio Bretagne), and some researchers from the national institute for agronomical research (INRA) have initiated a breeding program for organic production and a participatory plant breeding (PPB) program for organic cabbages and cauliflowers in Brittany, from the evaluation of genetic resources of several European gene Banks. In the PPB, the farmers are taking in charge breeding and seed production of open pollinated varieties. Several types were kept and bred, depending on the way of production and commercialization for each farmer. In the northern Brittany, farmers have not forgotten the traditional production of cauliflower seeds. PAIS, the agrobiological experimental station of IBB on the organic site of an agricultural school (Suscinio, Morlaix), is the meeting point for all the involved actors (farmers, traders, trainers, researchers…). There, the farmers and traders can find technical and scientific information, and they can share their experiences from the plant selection to seed production.
Today, other French PPB initiatives involve several species and organic farmers groups, to promote biodiversity and a best adaptation to a local production: durum wheat in the Mediterranean area, bread wheat with the “paysan-boulangers”, maize and sunflower in the South-West of the country, tomato in the South-East, radishes, parsnip and summer cauliflower, in Pays de Loire.
From these experiences, the PPB for organic farming consists in the constitution of the organic farmers group with the creation of exchange space for researchers and others organic actors, the definition of the priority in matters of crops, the discovering and selection of genetic resources in the farmers fields, the exchange of experiences and genetic resources through formal and informal, regional, national or international, farmer and organic professional meetings (accompanied by researchers and often enlarged to gardeners and trainers).
The seed distribution has been depending on the French legislative evolution. By nature, the varieties issued from PPB could not fill the DUS (Distinction, Uniformity, Stability) characteristics for registration. And mainly, by ethics, the organic way of development should enhance the ancestral link between the plant and the farmers, link which needs exchanges to allow the evolution of the crops and the conservation of a living biodiversity.

EPrint Type:Conference paper, poster, etc.
Type of presentation:Paper
Keywords:Participatory Plant Breeding, cauliflower, Brittany, "Variétés et semences de choux et choux-fleurs pour l'Agriculture Biologique : de l'évaluation des ressources génétiques vers l'organisation d'une filière semences"
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Breeding, genetics and propagation
Research affiliation: France > INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
France > Other organizations
Related Links:http://www.orgprints.org/6801
Deposited By: Chable, Dr Véronique
ID Code:6634
Deposited On:10 Jan 2006
Last Modified:12 Apr 2010 07:32
Document Language:English
Refereed:Not peer-reviewed

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