WHO & HOW:
Due to industrialized agriculture, which mainly uses modern breeds and hybrids, all tomato landraces had disappeared from public production in Hungary by 2012. To obtain the necessary seeds for their research, ÖMKi turned to the Centre for Plant Diversity, a gene bank located in Tápiószele. The first years of the research were dedicated to studying 35 tomato landraces on 28 cooperating organic farms across the country. From 2015 onwards, 10 tomato landraces were chosen to be studied in detail for three production years in cooperation with the Szent István University.
The landraces that proved to be the best in terms of production result, taste and composition were presented to the world during a seedling adoption event in 2018. Thanks to the great interest and success, a national store chain helped to bring the landraces back to organic gardens. Over the past two years, more than 16,000 seedlings have been sold. To keep up with the growing demand, about 20,000 seedlings will be supplied in spring 2021 and can be picked up from various collection points.
Landraces can substantially contribute to agrobiodiversity, facilitate local (climate) adaptation strategies, promote better livelihoods for farmers and improve resilience through genetic diversity and an enriched everyday diet. For all these reasons, landraces should be reintroduced into our food and farming systems rather than being preserved in gene banks as heritage cultivars.
Find the initiative on ÖMKi website
Jade Ducretot, ÖMKi
Photo Credit: ÖMKi