Rural development programme 2014/2020 of the Marche Region Measure 16.1 – Support to the setting up and management of operative groups (OGs) of European Innovation Partnership (EIP) for agricultural productivity and sustainability Action 2 – Management phase of the OG and carrying out of the activities 

Seed bearing vegetable crops play an important strategic and economic role within the Marche Region, both in terms of covered surface as well as of revenues and employment.

The Marche Region is Italian leader in vegetable seed multiplication and since 2006 it is at the second national place as far as cultivated area (Assosementi, 2018).

In 2017, the cultivated area amounted to 4.104 ha, i.e. one-fifth of the Italian total one.

In the Marche Region such crops are mostly grown in farms with a significant labour force availability, often on small areas (source Marche Region). According to the ASSAM Regional Plant Protection Organisation, in 2019 the regional surface devoted to vegetable seed multiplication for export exceeded 3,000 ha, mainly used for the multiplication of Brassicaceae (34%), Liliaceae (33%) and Chenopodiaceae (19%). The sector is more developed in the central northern part of the region.

Indeed vegetable seed bearing crops suffer from some phytosanitary problems, which are not always easy to manage due to the small number of active ingredients registered for these species, to the foreign buyers’ production health requirements and to the poor carried out research. There is consistent room for growth in the organic seed vegetable sector, nevertheless pest management can be harder than in integrated agriculture, somewhat because of the current limits and of the possible future copper use dismissal. This issue was discussed in the EIP-AGRI focus group “Organic farming”.

The Cleanseed project derives from the need of horticultural seed companies and of growers of multiplication seed crops to sustainably protect crops and to draw up integrated and organic protection manuals.

The Cleanseed project will test low environmental impact treatment strategies aimed at optimising the production qualitative features while reducing their bad environmental effects. In addition, specific protection strategies will be developed for organic farming, so to increase production in an expanding sector, in which the Marche region has distinguished itself at national and European level. The organic vegetable seed production has arisen some phytosanitary problems, that are easily managed in integrated agriculture by means of synthetic fungicides. The pests study in some vegetable seed crops is meant to provide technical and scientific evidence to be disseminated, within three years, in farms in different areas of the region. Such farms with unlike soil, climate, environmental and weather conditions, could benefit from positive spin-offs on the production quality and on the environmental sustainability of their cultivated species.

Partners of Cleanseed Operative Group are: – Farm MORBIDELLI MARCO, O. G. leader; Tenti Carlo and Coreani Giulietta simple L.t.d.; Steca Daniela; Agricultural Cooperative CESENATE; Agricultural Cooperative Company; ANSEME P.L.C;- Marche Polytechnic University (UNIVPM); ASSAM Marche (Agency for Agro-food Sector Services of the Marche Region); Marca of Ancona –CIA L.t.d.