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Bejo reaps investments in organic seed
"We’re seeing that organic seed is a huge growth market, both in and outside the Netherlands," says Robert Schilder from Bejo. "Led, in fact, by supermarkets and government, which both encourage it. They want plant protection product residues to be as low as possible." Organic cultivation nowadays more and more takes place on a large scale, by specialized companies. Bejo also has a wide range for smaller growers that can be ordered through the webshop.
Robert Schilder and Cees van Drunen from Bejo Zaden
Bejo has a wide range of organic seeds available. Bejo invested here because the organic sector prefers a fully comprehensive chain, even if organic seeds aren’t yet available for all breeds. "Fortunately we saw a future here twenty years ago and have developed an extensive range since. Currently we have 150 breeds in 40 crops and are the market leader in organic vegetable seeds of biennial crops, including herbs." Organic breeds have to develop a strong root system. "Deep roots ensures more stable growth, which makes plants less susceptible to disease and stress due to drought or nutrition. The breeds are naturally stronger. The Hylander onion breed that we’ve developed is mildew resistant and has caused a revolution in organic onion cultivation," according to Robert.
Impression of Bejo’s open day. Picture: Bejo.
Bejo believes in organic hybrids. A hybrid is created by crossing pure parent breeds. Inbreeding first establishes the desired breed, after which the positive properties are combined in the hybrid. This produces a breed with high yield and a high degree of uniformity (for example, all plants are ready to harvest at the same time). Seed grown from a hybrid, however, results in a breakdown of properties and plants that all have different characteristics.
Robert believes that their organic hybrids have many advantages: a more uniform product, better yields, less susceptibility to diseases. "In the organic sector, the idea exists that non-hybrid breeds have more flavor. However, scientific test panels in Wageningen indicate that hybrid brassicas taste better."
Bejo also benefits from its twenty year investment in organic seeds in a different way. "Some cultivation techniques that we developed in organic cultivation, like soil management, can also be used in conventional cultivation so that it becomes more sustainable, a very positive side effect."
For more information:
T +31 (0)651 230 973
Publication date: 1/4/2017
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