Assembly of European Horticultural Regions

Research and innovation


AREFLH shares some results of the survey “understanding the needs in organic fruit breeding"

InnOBreed, is a project focussing on “innovative organic fruit breeding and uses”.  


In the framework of the project AREFLH shares some results of the survey“Understanding the needs in organic fruit breeding".  A survey was carried out in early 2023 with the aim to identify and better understand the needs in fruit breeding with a focus on pip fruits and stone fruits. So far, it was the first survey organized at European level with a focus on organic fruit breeding topics.  


The questionnaire was designed to collect:  

  • Currently used methods, materials and tools for breeding/testing. 
  • Major traits focused on today and traits that may become more important in the future.  
  • Areas of needs and unresolved problems. 
  • Technical and social innovative solutions.  


The survey was completed by 126 respondents, including breeders, variety testers and nursery workers from 11 EU countries.   




The survey highlighted some specific constraints and pressures in the organic fruit breeding sector. For example, the facts that no mineral fertilizers, no herbicides and no synthetics pesticides are used, lead to slower growth of trees and overall slower processes.


Weed management appeared to be particularly challenging. Furthermore, it was highlighted that pest and diseases susceptibility plays a bigger role, with multiple pests and diseases to deal with at the same time and with limited solutions available. Also, the importance of robustness and adaptability to climate change factors were put forward, as well as the challenge of new pests and diseases.  

Other areas of needs that were indicated in breeding and testing, included harmonization of data collection and facilitating data exchange and access to information, the lack of markers or practical screening methods for pests, diseases and abiotic factors, as well as lack of resources.  


Among the innovative solutions in breeding and variety testing that were put forward, digitalization, participative approaches, the use of original material, and the strengthening of networks and creation of exchange platforms to improve collaboration and knowledge transfer were underlined.  


The results from this important survey will become available soon and will be published both on the project website and through scientific publications


About Innobreed

Its main objective is to identify specific fruit cultivars and/or selection – that is evaluation processes that are better suited for organic production cultivars compared to the ones that are currently used, and that meet organic farming requirements, by:  

  • Breeding with new organic approaches;  
  • Evaluating local genetic resources, (pre-) breeding material and cultivars; and  
  • Introducing these varieties through the organic fruit supply chain.  


For more information about the project follow:  

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