Germany’s leading association for organic agriculture, Bioland e.V., and vegetable seed breeder Bejo signed an outline cooperation agreement at ‘Biofach’ in Nuremberg on 14.02.2019. The agreement’s defined aim is to ‘jointly shape the future of organic plant breeding’. The cooperation extends from collaboration on growing trials and variety assessment to strategic dialogue.

Bioland and Bejo are linked by a mutual dedication to sustainable and quality-orientated development of vegetable production. Bioland promotes organic vegetable cultivation in Germany and the Alto-Adige region of northern Italy throughout the value-creation chain, from production, via processing and marketing, to the consumer. Bejo breeds varieties suitable for organic vegetable cultivation, develops organically compatible methods of handling and preparing seeds and relies on methods and processes within the company that are as environmentally and ecologically friendly as possible.

Bioland and Bejo want to increase the use of organically propagated seeds in agricultural practice. Bejo’s aim is therefore to expand the number of varieties for which organically propagated seeds are available. Bioland and Bejo make a commitment to continuous, but proportionate, expansion of the obligatory use of organically propagated seeds (Category 1) with other cultures. Pan-European harmonisation is regarded as an urgent requirement, specifically the inclusion of countries relevant to the market that produce organic vegetables. Furthermore, the use of conventionally propagated, non-chemically treated seeds will continue to be necessary for the foreseeable future. Bioland expressly values Bejo’s efforts to offer major varieties in this category too.

Bioland e.V. President Jan Plagge and Bejo Samen GmbH Director Pieter Gabriëls sign the agreement as Barbara Maria Rudolf (Bioland), Eckhard Reiners (Bioland), Günter Hugenberg (Bejo Samen) and Bart Kuin (Bejo Zaden) look on.

Both sides agree that modern hybrid varieties are just as suitable for organic cultivation as high-performance, open-pollinated varieties. For Bioland, and many other organiser EU producers, this rules out what are known as CMS hybrids, created with the help of cell fusion techniques. When breeding new varieties of the corresponding cultures, Bejo therefore intends to continue developing varieties without using cell fusion technology. Basically, the global organic sector is an important market segment for Bejo that requires servicing and expansion.

Bioland and Bejo intend to discuss regularly relevant topics concerning plant breeding and use of organic seeds. Collaboration on specific breeding practice will be intensified.

About Bioland

As of 1 January 2019, Bioland e.V. has more than 7,700 member businesses and is the leading association for organic agricultural and garden cultivation in Germany and northern Italy. Bioland is dedicated to expanding organic agriculture through education, advice, research and development. Bioland has close links with other organisations through national advocacy group BÖLW and the international IFOAM EU Group and IFOAM International.