OSGATA submitted comments on September 12, 2011 in response to the National Organic Program‘s (NOP), “Draft Guidance: Seeds, Annual Seedlings, and Planting Stock in Organic Crop Production. ” After careful review, the OSGATA policy committee contests that the NOP should act further to support the commercial availability of organic seed. Given the current threats facing organic seed, we believe the NOP should act in the best interests of organic producers by helping to alleviate the burdens facing the organic seed community.
OSGATA’s Partnership goals:
- Assess market potential.
- Develop an organic variety database.
- Aid capacity building in the organic seed industry in order to meet the growing demand for organic seed.
We recommend that the NOP implement the following steps:
- Provide substantive policies and educational materials to certifying agencies.
- Invite representatives from organic seed trade to address the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)
- Invite the Seed Integrity working group to present on the State of Organic Seed Report.
- Create an Organic Seed Task Force.
- Create and support a nationally authorized Organic Seed Data Base.
- Provide organic seed materials and protocol requirements at Certifier Trainings.
- Require contract buyers to source organic seed.
- Encourage varietal trials.
- Implement organic seed percentage measurement protocol.
- Establish responsibility for seed variety and quality decisions with the certified operation.
We implore the NOP to bring organic seed to the forefront of discussion. Organically produced seed that is adapted to organic systems and free of contaminates is critical to maintaining overall organic integrity. It is imperative that the NOP provide substantive policies and educational materials to certifying agencies that will further enhance the development of a healthy, viable organic seed industry, allowing it to better serve the whole organic industry. This request becomes evermore timely with the increasing threats to the integrity of organic seed as conventional agriculture uses more genetically engineered seed.
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