Old vegetable varieties: a joint GEVES/SEMAE day to promote their maintenance
On 29 September, at the GEVES Brion station, representatives from seed companies involved in the maintenance and distribution of old vegetable varieties and representatives from SEMAE and GEVES shared information on the regulatory, technical and financial components of maintaining or registering in the Official Catalogue (National List) these old varieties, which sometimes have a significant heritage value.
With more than 350 old vegetable varieties registered in the French Official Catalogue and information collected to find and disseminate other old varieties, gardeners and vegetable growers have a significant number of varieties regularly checked via GEVES trials, varieties that they are used to growing and/or that have a strong heritage value.
Most of them were included in lists a and b of the French Official Catalogue in 1952, and the creation of the annexed register of old varieties for amateurs in 1997, with some 250 varieties, made it possible to increase the number of old varieties with a minimum of official controls. In 2012, most of them were transferred to list d, created via a Community directive, list d for which the main user is the amateur gardener, who has access to almost 300 varieties (old and contemporary varieties) via this list. Also created in 2012, the c list contains almost ten old varieties threatened with erosion.
In addition to the exchanges between the various operators involved in the maintenance and registration of old vegetable varieties, this day on 29 September provided an opportunity to present and discuss the regulatory procedures implemented for national listing and official controls carried out for the maintenance of these old varieties. The changes adopted by the CTPS Vegetable Species Section since the previous day on the maintenance of old varieties in 2018 mainly concern the frequency of maintenance checks for varieties on list d (one test to be carried out one year before the end of the 10-year period of initial registration).
The financial terms of national listing and support for maintenance represent a significant aspect for such varieties whose market size can vary significantly depending on the variety. In this context, participants were reminded of the financial support of the Ministry of Agriculture for varieties applying for registration on list c and that of SEMAE for varieties on list d. At the same time, SEMAE explained the terms and conditions of the fund dedicated to the maintenance of old varieties, which will be implemented for the first time in 2020; it covers both varieties in the process of being registered and varieties already registered with a market constraint or as part of a conservative selection process requiring more important work from time to time.
In the same context of financial arrangements, the Endowment Fund for the preservation of cultivated biodiversity created in April 2021 was presented. A tool created to raise funds to finance projects of general interest, it aims in particular to enable inventories, including know-how, characterisation, evaluation, conservation, sustainable management and enhancement of the biodiversity of cultivated species and their wild relatives. The first call for projects of this Fund with the contribution of SEMAE was launched in July 2021.