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Seed bank for indigenous cultivated plants emerging

Lesce, 21 February - A seed bank for indigenous cultivated plants will be launched this year in Lesce (NW), with the project focusing on boosting food self-sufficiency.

Seated in the beekeeping centre in Lesce, the project is conducted by the local development agency Ragor, which is looking for partners and the name for the seed bank.

The project will also apply for EU funds as part of the LEADER programme, which supports rural development projects.

According to Ragor director Stevo Ščavničar, organic seeds have already been ordered while preparations are under way to secure appropriate facilities.

"The main purpose of the project is to achieve greater food security, including by preserving the genetic diversity of seeds and producing quality seeds," Ščavničar said.

He added that the agency had already carried out a food self sufficiency project in the past, establishing that there was a shortage of quality seeds.

Organic farmers are increasingly looking to produce their own seeds, but the problem is the lack of know-how.

"The economic pressure on the other hand forces them to stick only to particular types of seeds and produce. This is why a lot of local varieties have been lost," Ščavničar noted.

The goal is for the seed bank to become self-sustainable after a few years and be able to survive without the financial support of local authorities.

zm/ep
© STA, 2017