Establishment of, and running, a comprehensive organic seed information database and communication network OF0195


The Scientific Objectives 1. To request and collate information from seed companies and organic sector certification bodies throughout the EU on the production of organic seed. Regular Organic Seed Working Group meetings were held throughout this period and information on EU regulations and techniques of organic seed production discussed and minuted on COSI. 2. To produce an up-to-date list of organic seed availability of varieties of field vegetable, cereals and potatoes within the EU. Where possible the list will provide an indication of seed quantity as well as variety availability. Contact was made with all seed companies and lists compiled of varieties available as organic seed. Over 1000 varieties were eventually added to the European OrganicXseeds database. 3. Establish an effective communication system linking the seed industry, organic growers, UKROFS and certification bodies. COSI web site was set up with the capability of exchanging information on organic topics and keeping abreast of legislation changes. 4. Where possible to provide an indication of the suitability of the varieties listed for UK growing and marketing. Where UK tests have not been carried out a comparison with known controls will be made. The COSI database lists comprehensive results for organic variety trial data carried out by NIAB, HDRA, Elm Farm and other centres. In addition, data for organic or conventional trial performance has been added for all varieties where information is available. The extent to which the objectives have been met. The COSI web site was created and launched in 2001 and the objectives have been fully met. Methods used Consultation with all interested representatives was carried out by post, telephone and twice-yearly meetings with each crop sector. Regular updates and progress reports were given at NIAB, HDRA and Soil Association open days and committee meetings. The web site was developed by Soil Association IT specialists. Results Several seed companies attempted organic seed production and most varieties produced were listed on the COSI/OrganicXseeds web sites. Some seed companies were discouraged by the extension of the derogation allowance of EU Regulation 2092/91 which meant that untreated conventional seed could still be used for vegetable crops. Access to lists of varieties available as organic seed through COSI and OrganicXseeds has been successful but seed companies were unwilling to list quantities of seed available. However a "red/green traffic light" system was set up to indicate whether seed is currently available and for vegetables the option of listing as "available in small packets only" is available. Every variety listed has been researched to enable organic and conventional performance data to be added. All known organic trial results have been added. Implications The web site has been successfully established and support is growing with time. Possible future work Maintain support for the site especially the time consuming addition of performance data for each variety. This project successfully set up a web site called COSI (Centre for Organic Seed Information) address: In addition, the site included the following areas: Latest news of interest to organic growers Information on organic standards An organic discussion forum Organic grower survey result

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