The ECPGR Workshop for the establishment of a European Evaluation Network (EVA) on vegetables, sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, gathered 20 experts from public institutions (genebanks and research centres from Albania, Belarus, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Nordic countries, Portugal, Serbia, United Kingdom), private breeding companies (DeSeeds, Denmark; Gautier semences, France; ISI Sementi, Italy; Superior DOO, Serbia) and the German Federation for Plant Innovation (GFPi).
Under the coordination of the ECPGR Secretariat and based on the framework and principles of the EVA document (162,9 KB) recently endorsed by the ECPGR Steering Committee, the participants agreed to start a collaborative Evaluation Network, initially focusing on carrot, lettuce and pepper. Pre-screening of European genebank accessions (mainly landraces and possibly also wild relatives) for disease resistance will take place in one selected laboratory. Private companies made themselves available to multiply a number of accessions as an input in kind to the network. Field testing will then follow in multiple sites across Europe, looking at various phenotypic and agronomic traits, adopting harmonized evaluation protocols. Work on lettuce will focus on testing for Bremia resistance by ISI Sementi, Italy. Carrot landraces will be lab-screened by JKI, Germany for Alternaria and Microcentrospora. Other fungal and viral diseases will then be evaluated in the field, together with harvest and quality traits. Pepper accessions will be tested for TSWV by CREA, Italy, before field evaluation. All accessions will also be genotyped.
The principles of the FAO International Treaty will be followed for the exchange of material and consequent access and benefit sharing. The data obtained will be uploaded onto the EURISCO catalogue, being made available to the general public after a 3-year embargo, during which the data will be visible only to the partners. A project proposal will soon be submitted to a potential donor to cover some common costs, while the costs of the evaluation fields, data scoring and data exchange will be covered by the individual partners on their own budgets. According to agreed intentions, the initiative should start with the lab tests already in 2019 and the multiplication of the first batch of accessions take place during 2020. Additional partners, beyond those who were present in Durres, will be welcome to join in the initiative.