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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1143: VII International Symposium on Edible Alliaceae

Production of certified onion seeds in Uruguay: an experience of governmental-private articulation

Authors:   S. Peluffo, H.G. Idiarte, G.A. Galván, A. Hirczak
Keywords:   Allium cepa, plant breeding rights, seed certification, seed quality
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1143.23
Onion cultivation is one of the main vegetable crops in Uruguay, and requires around 5000 kg of seeds yearly. Traditionally, onion seed production took place in small household farms to maintain and multiply landraces. Since the 1980s the national institute for agricultural research (INIA) and the University (Universidad de la República) bred onions in the South and North vegetable regions. The release and adoption of the 'Pantanoso del Sauce' (2000) and 'Canarita' (2006) created conditions for the production of certified onion seeds, as well as research on seed production and technology. The strategy from the University combines (1) the protection of the cultivars (plant breeding rights) to licence and control the cultivars; with (2) the production and promotion of certified seeds. Vegetable farmers were identified and advised to specialize and become commercial seeds producers. Their background as vegetable farmers facilitates the knowledge on the crop and the link with seed demand. The organization of seed producers was promoted, and the agricultural cooperative CALSESUR was created as the first Uruguayan company specialized in vegetable seeds. In addition, INASE, as the national institute responsible for seeds regulations, monitors the processes and certifies the quality of the seeds. Across 14 years, the cultivars released cover more than 60% of onion acreage, and the use of certified seeds has a rising trend in replacement of imported seeds. The implemented strategy allowed the presence in the market of the locally developed cultivars with genetic quality, seed volume and quality.

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