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Sow what you sell: strategies for integrating organic breeding and seed production into value chain partnerships

Winter, Eva; Grovermann, Christian; Aurbacher, Joachim; Orsini, Stefano; Schäfer, Freya; Lazzaro, Mariateresa; Solfanelli, Francesco and Messmer, Monika (2021) Sow what you sell: strategies for integrating organic breeding and seed production into value chain partnerships. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, online, pp. 1-29.

[thumbnail of winter-etal-2021-AgroecologySustainableFoodSystems-Vol_online-p1-29.pdf] PDF - English
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


Document available online at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21683565.2021.1931628


The development of an independent organic breeding and seed sector poses a significant challenge for organic agriculture in Europe. It should deliver cultivars suitable to the principles and conditions of organic farming and secure the integrity of future product supply. This study seeks to identify promising pathways to address this challenge by analyzing value chain organization. It is based on a mixed method approach combining the assessment of qualitative data from a stakeholder dialogue with an analysis of quantitative farm survey data.
The results from the stakeholder dialogue show that a value chain partnership is a promising strategy to distribute the burden for refinancing breeding, as the whole organic sector would profit from organic breeding. A cross-sector pool funding strategy is proposed for joining forces among all value chain partners of the organic sector to invest in organic breeding and collectively secure the integrity of the future organic product supply. Four success factors have been identified: a long-term commitment, a pool fund for organic cultivar development, awareness-raising on the importance of breeding, and a high level of transparency in the process. The funding strategy is backed up by findings on market channels. Farmers who market their products through long value chains use less organic seed than those marketing through short value chains. This highlights the need to better integrate long organic value chains such as processors, traders, and retailers, and seed supply. Regardless of the marketing channel, farmers consider the development of organic breeding a vital measure to achieve higher organic seed use. This indicates that overcoming organic seed shortage is more likely to be achieved when also including breeding activities.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Organic plant breeding, organic seed, value chain partnership, farmer perceptions, marketing channel, Abacus, FiBL2006404
Agrovoc keywords:
plant breeding
value chains
marketing channels
Subjects: Food systems > Markets and trade
Crop husbandry > Breeding, genetics and propagation
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Crops > Seeds and breeding > Plant breeding
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Society > Economics & market > Marketing
Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Crops > Seeds and breeding > Seeds
Germany > FiBL Germany - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture
Germany > University of Gießen
Italy > Univ. Politecnica delle Marche (prev. Univ. Ancona)
UK > Organic Research Centre (ORC)
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:40066
Deposited On:15 Jun 2021 13:18
Last Modified:18 Jan 2022 14:48
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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