Initiative Organic Seeds Sunflower
Sunflower oil is an important raw material in organic food and cosmetics. However most organic companies use hybrid-sunflowers that originate almost entirely from two large seed corporations. They are even patented in some cases. Organic farmers don’t have a choice though since there are no alternatives on the seed market.
High –oleic oil in particular is steadily gaining importance. Thanks to an acid content of over 78 per cent HO sunflower oils are nutritionally beneficial. They are particularly suited for use as a frying oil or in cosmetics. The high content of singular unsaturated oil acid gives this oil the excellent stability concerning light and heat.
Ten organic companies operating in the seeds and oils business have teamed up in 2013 to support the company Seed Growing Peter Kunz in growing organic high oleic sunflower plants. The project is secured through these organic companies for the first 5 years. The goal is the cultivation of a healthy breed with the desired attributes:
High oil content in the seeds
- High oil content in the oil
- Stable plant health
- Good adaptability to conditions of organic agriculture
- Sufficient yield
In the first test years different breeds HO sorts were cross-bread and the sorts with good oil content and good health were picked from the descendents. The first harvest, the test pressing and the analysis as well as the sensory evaluation of the oil showed that a promising development has been started. It will be a few years until the sunflower sort will bring the whole spectrum of attributes that are desired.
The cooperation from very different organic companies is remarkable and innovative. There are producers collaborating, processors and distributors. So stakeholders from the complete value chain are involved.
Through responsibility for this culture plant the participants combine their powers to enable a symbiotic initiative of target oriented cultivation.