Development of production using participatory methods
Project manager: Johanna Björklund, Department of Urban and Rural Development, SLU
For the future development of organic agriculture it is important to increase organic ley seed production, especially in the view of the increased EU requirements on the use of organic seed. The interest from farmers is great, but only a few have any prior experience of this kind of production. The production places special demands on e.g. harvest and post-harvest treatment. Moreover, to grow seed organically there is need for weed regulation, nutrient supply and harvest with partly new methods. Today the rejection percentage is higher in organic production compared to conventional, due to higher amounts of weed seeds, which are complicated to separate out. With many new growers involved, the preparedness to solve problems has to be high for farmers as well as advisors and researchers.
The main objective with this project is therefore to improve the situation for organic ley seed growers. A participatory approach is used to increase the feedback between research and farming and to test knowledge and new ideas in real situations to improve the development of organic seed production.
In a participatory research group the main problems in relation to the production of major ley seed species will be identified, as will appropriate methods to deal with such problems. The results of inquiries will be analysed and evaluated in the group and will bring about changes on the participating farmers’ own farms, as well as changes in policy.
The group consists of about 15 farmers, advisors and researchers from eastern Sweden. The project started in 2004 and will run for three years.