Semences paysannes

Developing the resilience of organic field crop sectors in a context of climate change and protection of water resources: the development of farmers’ seeds and their use by the sector

ESPOL-LAB is involved since late 2020 in the “Semences paysannes” (“Farmer’s seeds”) project alongside Bio en Grand Est and ARDEAR Grand-Est. Funded by Agence de l’eau Seine Normandie for a durationof 3 years, the project aims to contribute to the preservation of water resources by changing agricultural practices and supporting sectors that favour a lesser use of water resources through the development of farmer seeds. To do this, the project proposes to:

  • Structure a collective organisation for the management of farmers’ seeds and support an emerging group around the use, conservation, multiplication and selection of farmers’ seeds
  • Improve knowledge about farmer seeds and participate in the development of farmers’ skills on the subject and share this knowledge
  • Help structuring local value chains for crops grown from farmers’ seeds in Champagne-Ardenne

Initially, the expected impact is to perpetuate organic farming. Farmers’ seeds are one of the most important agroecological adaptation measures to be developed for climate change adaptation. Beyond resilience to climate change, it is a question of having seeds adapted to one’s soil (poor soils, etc.) and to one’s practices (organic, etc.), of saving on the purchase of seeds and, finally, of producing a harvest with a lower production cost, even if the yield is sometimes also lower. This is where the structuring of local supply chains comes into play, allowing for an economic valuation of crops from these farmers’ seeds. In addition, crops grown from farmers’ seeds must find outlets if they are to be used more widely. In addition, the creation of a collective dynamic around farmers’ seeds allows exchanges between farmers in the region, encourages meetings and the maintenance of a dynamic for organic agriculture as a whole.

Secondly, this project will contribute to the development of organic farming and its influence, particularly in the water zones that will be targeted during this project. Furthermore, even in conventional agriculture, crops grown from farmers’ seeds are recognised as requiring few inputs (less fertiliser and better tolerance to certain diseases) and therefore as being more beneficial for water resources. The use of these seeds in non-organic agriculture should therefore make it possible to take a further step towards conversion to organic farming and environmental protection. The development of these seeds in conventional agriculture is particularly justified for adaptation to climate change and the search for a reduction in inputs.

The results of the project will be obtained over several years. The project aims to raise awareness about the interest of farmers’ seeds, invites farmers to discover them concretely outside their homes, then to test them on their farms and finally to use them more and more.

In conclusion:

  • Organic farming will be consolidated and thus even more attractive,
  • Non-organic crops that are not registered as BNI will need less inputs,
  • Conversion to organic farming will be promoted.



Download the final report (in French)