Innovation needs in the Marche Region about seed crops: the challenge of Marche Region farms

The Marche region is nationally and internationally renowned for high quality seed bearing vegetable crops. Part of the product is exported and importing countries’ control requirements of harmful organisms, are increasingly demanding. The emergence of sustainable agriculture and the reduction of pesticides, both in traditional and organic farming, issue a challenge to the Marche Region producers of seed bearing vegetable crops: to test environmentally sustainable control strategies to produce quality seeds in good quantities. The farms are therefore committed to maintain their economic sustainability as well as to fulfil the undersigned contracts by producing pathogen free seeds. Organic growing of seed bearing vegetables crops requires proper protection strategies, resulting from a long term experimentation in different environments. The Cleanseed innovative research may represent a fruitful trade chance for the sector. Nevertheless some phytopathological problems, due to the synthetic fungicides’ dismissal, might arise. Therefore is it important to avoid failures that would eventually lead to drop out this interesting market opportunity.

General objective

The Cleanseed project aims at improving the competitiveness and sustainability of the Marche Region growers of seed bearing crops. The experimentation envisages the definition of protection strategies, of some seed bearing plants, from the main diseases, in integrated and organic farming.

Operational objectives

  • Improve disease protection of seed bearing species, in both integrated and organic farming;
  • Obtain high quality production in good quantities, while minimising their environmental impact;
  • Foster low environmental impact approaches, that are economically sustainable for the seed farm;
  • Manage emerging or recurring conversion issues to organic production;
  • Draw up protection strategies in integrated and organic farming that reduce contaminants from seedborne pathogens, to limit he Marche region involved farms ‘ trade hardship;
  • Effective dissemination of the project results among the producers of the main seed bearing vegetables in the Marche region, involving the sector leading seed farms.

The players: operational group (GO), AAA and PIL

The Cleanseed G.O. consists of the lead partner, 3 farms, 2 agricultural cooperatives, the UNIVPM (Marche Polytechnic University), ASSAM (Agency for Agro-food Sector Services of the Marche Region) as research bodies and an agricultural consultant.

The partners are located in three different Valleys of the Marche Region: the Valdaso, the Vallesina and the Valle del Cesano. Cleanseed is also linked to the Integrated Local Projects (PIL of Arcevia and Ostra of the Colli Esini Local Action Group (GAL), whose Agri-food District theme is linked to organic farming.

Target farms other than partners

The farms potentially concerned by the resulting project innovation are all arable farms in the Marche Region, which represent about 70% of the 44,866 regional farms (ISTAT 2010). Given the spread of seed-bearing crops in the area, the directly involved farms, will be those producing seed crops.

Methodological approach

The trials will be carried out on the involved farms’ seed crops plots, where standard protection strategies will be supported, through field trials, by integrated farming alternative strategies, and issued for organic agriculture. This approach is meant to foster a low environmental impact pest management. Alternative cooper fungicide formulations will be included in the organic farming strategies and proper measurements will be carried out using specific empirical scales. The obtained data will be then statistically processed. The collected samples will undergo classical, serological and/or molecular diagnostics for pathogens detection, with particular reference to the seed transmitted ones. Lastly, qualitative and quantitative production measurements will follow. The process will end with the experiment results dissemination.

Dissemination and comunication

Innovations in seed vegetable crops production, which is particularly developed in the Marche region, are of interest also for farmers and technicians from neighbouring regions (Emilia-Romagna, Umbria,

Abruzzo, Molise and Apulia).

MARCA of ANCONA CIA LLC, in collaboration with ASSAM (Agency for Agro-food Sector Services of the Marche Region), is in charge to disseminate the Cleanseed project results, by traditional tools, such as seminars, conferences and brochures, as well as on semi-annual newsletters and on the thematic website:, in Italian and English version with videos, during two field trials and on semi-annual newsletters.

The news provided during the seminars and conferences will be reported on the PEI AGRI network and the INNOVAMARCHE.IT website.

A Facebook page, a twitter account: @Cleanseed1 and a blog section on the website will provide constant update on the proposed innovations. The final publication will describe the definitive results.


Within the Cleanseed project, the experimentation of sustainable and low environmental impact protection strategies aims at optimising the qualitative and quantitative production features.

The innovation will improve the productivity of seed bearing vegetable crops farms and seed companies with a potential economic impact of 230,000€/year. The reduced environmental impact, although more difficult to quantify, will be fostered by rationalised disease protection measures and by organic farming.

The achieved technical and scientific knowledge will be available to sector operators to improve their competitive advantage and profitability. The experimentation of specific protection strategies for organic farming may further strengthen the Marche region leadership in this sector, with employment and environmental benefits.