Survey on seed choices in the organic vegetable sector in the Walloon Region
A survey to identify the main varieties used for vegetable production in the Walloon Region and to highlight the needs in terms of varietal selection and supply of plants and seeds.
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This survey was addressed to Walloon organic vegetable producers (whether they grow on small, medium or large surfaces; for the fresh or processing sectors).
The survey was open from the beginning of January to the end of February.
You can view the main results below.
What degree of cultivated biodiversity in vegetable production? A poorly investigated question.
Organic vegetable production covers 1,800 ha  and involves more than 200 producers .
It is composed of 95% open field crops . Within open field vegetable production, a small number of vegetables are in the majority (carrots, green beans, leeks) , rrevealing a very high degree of homogeneity in terms of species grown.
The remaining 5% of the vegetable area corresponds to greenhouse production and market gardening on small and medium-sized areas . Within small and medium-sized vegetable production, the degree of diversity in terms of species and varieties, while certainly higher than in open field crops, is not yet recorded.
What roles do varietal and seed issues play in the resilience of organic production?
The FAO states that seeds are a “keystone of agroecological systems” .
Recent research conducted by our team shows that varietal and seed choices are directly related to the sustainability of production methods (disease resistance without the use of (bio)pesticides, lower demand for fertilisers, etc.), their productivity (yield, resilience to hazards) and their sovereignty (depending on the modalities of access to seeds and therefore the degree of seed autonomy) .
Although this topic rarely seems to be discussed in policies for moving towards a more sustainable agriculture, seed choices and dynamic management of cultivated biodiversity are central to the performance and resilience of vegetable production.
Survey of vegetable growers – Winter 2020/2021
This survey was aimed at Walloon market gardeners in organic farming (whether they grow on small, medium or large surfaces; for the fresh or processing sectors).
The objectives of the survey were
- to list the varieties used for vegetable production in the Walloon Region and to evaluate their performance (from the point of view of the market gardeners);
- to map the production and supply methods for seeds or plants of these varieties;
- to highlight the factors that govern the current seed choices and the future needs of market gardeners;
- and to identify development opportunities (participatory selection process, co-development, etc.).