Use of organic seeds and planting stock
Specify requirements concerning use of organic seeds and planting stock according to NPOP, Govt. of India, COS and NOP
Organic standards require use of seeds and planting stock from organic origin. Nevertheless, in some countries such materials are not easily available. So, procedures need to be defined for applying the standards in such countries.
Normative framework :
3.2.1 Choice of Crops and Varieties
All seeds and plant material should be certified organic.
Species and varieties cultivated should be adapted to the soil and climatic conditions and be resistant to pests and diseases.
In the choice of varieties genetic diversity should be taken into consideration.
When organic seed and plant materials are available, they shall be used. The certification programme shall set time limits for the requirement of certified organic seed and other plant material.
When certified organic seed and plant materials are not available, chemically untreated conventional materials shall be used.
The use of genetically engineered seeds, pollen, transgene plants or plant material is not allowed.
NOP: § 205.204: “ (a) The producer must use organically grown seeds, annual seedlings, and planting stock: Except, That,
(1) Nonorganically produced, untreated seeds and planting stock may be used to produce an organic crop when an equivalent organically produced variety is not commercially available…
(5) Seeds, annual seedlings, and planting stock treated with prohibited substances may be used to produce an organic crop when the application of the materials is a requirement of Federal or State phytosanitary regulations.”
5.3.1 The operator shall use organic seed, bulbs, tubers, cuttings, annual seedlings, transplants and other propagules produced in accordance with this standard.
Exceptions or Conditions
184.108.40.206 A variety of non-organic untreated seed and planting stock or seed treated only with substances in accordance with
this standard may be used provided that the organically produced seed or planting stock variety
a. is not available from the enterprise;
b. is not commercially available, and a reasonable search involving potential, known organic suppliers has been conducted.
220.127.116.11 Non-organic perennial planting stock may be used provided that the organic products were harvested after such plants have been maintained in accordance with this standard for at least one year. The land on which the stock is planted shall meet the requirements in par. 5.1.1. 18.104.22.168 Plant varieties, seeds, seed inoculant, germ plasm, scions, rootstocks or other propagules developed through the use of genetic engineering are prohibited, in accordance with par. 1.4.1.
- Planting stock: all vegetative planting material (cuttings, tubers, etc.).
- Organic seeds and planting stock: organic seeds and planting stock have to be obtained from mother plants managed according to organic standards.
Since data bases on availability of organic seeds, do not exist in our countries, other sources of information have to be used. Our inspectors are requested to obtain an overview of the availability of organic seeds of relevant species in the different countries.
In case of proven non-availability of organic seeds, farmers, farmer groups and companies must make considerable efforts to obtain them in the future.
Both, non-availability and expected efforts need to be defined according to the specific situation of the country and farm. Farming companies or organisations have access to sources of seeds, which smallholders do not have. The following gives a rough idea:
|Type of operation||Region, for which non-availability must be proven||Expected efforts|
|Individual smallholders (no permanent hired labour)||Region, within which farmers commonly move (market place etc.)||Own production in case of seeds and planting materials, which are easy to produce|
|Medium to big size farms and companies, smallholder organisations with weak in-ternational connections||Countrywide||Own production, approach actively seed importers and seed multipliers, so that organic seeds are imported and reproduced in the country|
|Big farms, companies and organisations with good in-ternational contacts||International, at least in the countries, with which good contacts exist|
When referring to organic seeds and planting stock, the above mentioned standards have in mind professionally produced material with a similar phytosanitary quality as conventional seeds. Thus, in situations, where the farmer has only the choice between high quality, professionally produced conventional material, and “home made” organic seeds with poor quality, there is no reason to oblige the farmer to use the latter. This is especially true, when poor quality involves high risks of spreading diseases (caused by virus, bacteria, fungi and others) or pests, since other relevant paragraphs of the same standards require farmers to do everything to prevent pests and diseases.
Special situation: treated seeds for intercrops:
A special situation occurs sometimes on intercropped fields: Farmers comply with the seed and planting stock standard for the crop requested for certification, but not for other crops growing on the same field, destined for self consumption or for the conventional market. ADITI will deal with this problem in the following way:
|% vegetation cover of intercrop with treated seed||Untreated seeds are …||Conclusion|
|< 50%||Not available*||Farmer must change cropping scheme next season, using own untreated seed or a different crop|
|< 50%||Available||Crop requested for certification can not be sold as organic in this season|
|> 50%||Not available|
|> 50%||Available||Field has to undergo the regular conversion time|