(July 10, 2018) - Argentina, a country with international fame in the production and export of transgenic crops, is seeking to promote the production of organic seeds with the creation of the first national center for the cultivation of organic seeds.
The Center for Organic Seed Production, which is located in the northern province of Santiago del Estero, was until recently an establishment dedicated to the cultivation of organic vegetables. Then, the scientific community that managed it decided to turn it into a greenhouse that can start meeting the national demand for organic seeds.
"By law, all the producers that make organic vegetables need to use organic seeds. The problem is that no company in Argentina produces them so it's almost impossible for us to be able to meet that requirement," says Marcela Ablin, the center's production consultant.
The main objective is to develop and train the nearly 7,000 local producers in the district to achieve a critical mass of growers who can use their own seeds and do not depend on imports.
According to statistics provided by the National Service of Health and Food Quality (Senasa) of Argentina, organic production in the southern country experienced an interannual growth of 3% and a 13% per year increase in exports.
In 2017 Argentina exported a total of 150.5 million kilos of organic products to the United States and the European Union, the two main destinations. The organic products exported were mainly cereals, oilseeds, fruits and vegetables.
"The countries of the European Union and the United States produce a lot of organic seeds, but they don't reach Argentina and nobody has noticed the imperative need for this to happen," Ablin said.
At the moment, the center is working on the production of lettuce, chard, arugula, and pumpkin seeds, although they hope to produce seeds of more fruits and vegetables as the project progresses.
The main challenge in organic cultivation is in the monitoring of seeds, which must grow without experiencing any crossing of pollen with other species, even if it is of the same food.
Thus, this project, which is a pioneer in the South American country, contrasts with the usual type of production in Argentina.
Argentina is the second biggest producer of organic products, but maintains its transgenic production, which is the main base of its economy.