Members of the Guild of Oca Breeders (GOB) aim to further the development and adaptation of oca (Oxalis tuberosa) to areas outside its traditional homelands, starting with the UK and northern Europe.
Why set up a plant breeding club?
Plant breeding is becoming more and more a domain of large agri-business, removing it from communities and public control.
An “open source” breeding club, keeping new cultivars in the public domain for the benefit of all, would work to protect the interests of those exploring the future of the crop whatever their background and means. We will make sure we keep oca and our breeding programme in the public domain by linking to the Open Source Seed Initiative and other community initiatives.
Optimisation of the breeding process, ensuring steady, meaningful progress and encouraging funders to support the project, will be achieved by the collaboration of amateurs and experts working in partnership with scientific institutions and other sympathetic organisations.
What is required of members?
Working together will enable a much faster evaluation of the varieties and a more rapid achievement of our goal; delicious, high yielding ocas that are easy to grow.
Recurrent mass selection, the breeding method we use, is an extensive process by which large numbers of genetically variable seedlings are grown together; the best of these are selected and then allowed to cross-pollinate.
The seeds they produce are grown out again and the best plants are once again selected. This cycle is continued until such time as superior varieties are developed or indefinitely as a way of continual crop improvement. It is probably the simplest of all plant breeding methods, yet it remains very effective.