An interactive workshop aimed to give a simple explanation of hybrid seeds as an innovative technology. Organic farming, business as usual or a contribution to poverty reduction?
This workshop aims to give a simple explanation of hybrid seeds as an innovative technology to unearth the misunderstanding in making comparison with G.M.O. It will show French sub-Saharan Africa as being very slow in hybrid adoption, which accounts for being the biggest importer of onions, also viewed as a staple. Unlike other continents, West Africa is yet to benefit of its much-unexploited comparative advantage of for all year-round production possibilities.
Increases in life expectancy, urbanization, expansion of the middle class, climate change factors and interest in organic food have added to the challenges faced by farmers and processing entrepreneurs who are unable to supply the increase in demand, and need for quality. For example, a simplified vegetable production chain shows an increase in the use of onion powder. By 2050, these challenges will be multiplied 10 folds and hence the need for urgent solutions to feed the world.
Hybrids (yields, resistances, adaptations, shelf life, robust universal varieties, and consumer market preference) compared seeds saved/OPv. Addressing Hydroponics, low-tech green house, adapted farming systems can be a part of the solution responding to the above challenges, but we need more. China and Asia have so far been successful introducing hybrids, which has greatly improved yields and hence added earnings for farmers.
Enza Zaden is a major player in the vegetable hybrid market and for the last 80 years has been making very huge investments in Research & Development (up to 30% of total annual revenue) and continuously developing varieties that are robust and able to respond to the above challenges. In West Africa, farmers now have the possibility to grow all vegetables including onions during the wet season, which coincides with high prices, translating into increased earnings. These hybrids are bred to respond to the high disease pressure during this period due to high humidity.
His workshop is held together with OTC Trading, that will address the topic of organic farming.