Join our Thunderclap campaign and get fascinated by plants

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On May 18th 2017 the world celebrates the ‘Fascination of Plants Day’ (#PlantDay).

Pants are fascinating - from one little seed to substantial agriculture crops – and they are critical to animals and mankind to survive on this planet. Plants are essential for agriculture, in sustainably producing food, as well as for horticulture, forestry, and all of the non-food products such as paper, timber, chemicals, energy, and pharmaceuticals.




 

We, the seed sector, believe that showcasing the importance of plant breeding for the whole of society is vital as plant science contributes to high-quality food, competitive and sustainable agriculture and climate change mitigation. We will use this international day to explain the benefits of plant breeding and address the knowledge gap that exists between the general public and science-based agriculture.

To date, already over 40 countries worldwide have confirmed joining the ‘Fascination of Plants Day’ 2017 with more than 100 registered projects and the number is growing. A large number of scientific institutions, universities, botanical gardens, and museums, together with farmers and companies, have already announced that they will open their doors, with a variety of plant-based events for all interested people.

We encourage all our members and colleagues to organise activities in their company, open their doors and show their work in the field, greenhouse or laboratory, to get as many people as possible fascinated by plants and make them aware of their importance for our future.

To help celebrate the importance of plant science and plant breeding for society, join the Fascination of Plants Day and spread the word by shouting #PlantDay on May 18th.

     

HOW TO PARTICIPATE:

1) Join this campaign;

2) Take a picture of yourself while your are working in your company greenhouse, laboratory, field;

2) Upload your picture to Twitter or Facebook and use the hashtag #PlantDay, explaining what you do.

 

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Know more about plant breeding

Discover more about plant breeding by visiting the sections below:

Evolution of plant breeding

Plant breeding innovation in Europe

Seed for society

Quality products

Adapting to climate change

Food security

 

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Evolution of plant breeding

The origins of seed innovation stretch back thousands of years to the first farmers who selected the best plants in one year to provide the best seed for their next crop.

In the mid-19th century, Europe became the birthplace of modern plant breeding when Gregor Mendel discovered the law of genetic inheritance in plants. Meanwhile, the first seed companies were established in Europe between the 18th century and the mid-20th century. Many of these evolved out of agricultural cooperatives or were founded by farmers specialising in seed selection and production.

Plant breeding evolution developed consistently in the last century thanks to scientific progress, making it possible to better respond to societal needs. Adapting to societal needs and changing climate conditions are the key points for the evolution of plant breeding along the years.

Find additional links and resources on plant breeding.

Visit our plant breeding innovation web page.

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Plant Breeding Innovation in Europe

Did you know? Plant breeding activities in the EU in the last 15 years resulted in numerous clearly measurable benefits for the economy, the environment, and also society at large. Some key findings include:

  • On average and across major crops cultivated in the EU, plant breeding contributes about 74% to total productivity growth, equal to an increase of yields by 1.24% per annum.
  • Plant breeding increased primary agricultural product supply at levels of, for instance,  47 million tons of grains and 7 million tons of oilseeds, thus stabilising markets and reducing price volatility.
  • Genetic crop improvement added over €14 billion to the EU’s GDP since 2000.
  • Plant breeding contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions: about 3.4 billion tons of direct CO2 emissions were avoided in Europe thanks to plant breeding innovation over the last 15 years.
  • Through plant breeding, Europe has been able to prevent biodiversity loss by preserving habitats the size of Latvia being turned into farmland.

Read more.

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Seed for society

Every seed is packed with potential. It can deliver healthier foods, contribute to sustainable production methods, provide greener living environments or supply more bio-based products to our economy. With food security, climate change and sustainable development high on the agenda, our increasing expectation of what that seed should deliver, not only for farmers and consumers, but for society at large, also requires a renewed recognition of the societal value of seed.

Quality products

Improved plant varieties can be selected to bring specific added value to the end-consumer. By increasing or decreasing the content of certain ingredients in plants, many seed innovations can help fight obesity, allergies, cholesterol, diabetes and other chronic diseases. With oilseed rape and sunflower, for instance, changing the fatty acid composition through plant breeding creates healthier vegetable oils. Breeders have also made an enormous contribution to increasing the availability of food products throughout the year, for example by extending the seasonality of healthy fresh fruit and vegetables. Seed innovation is constantly inspiring chefs, retailers and consumers by bringing novel products to the market, with breakthroughs in consumer products such as ‘baby carrots’, which are ideal as healthy and fun snacks for children. Such innovations provide excellent ways to promote healthier eating habits and lifestyles.

 

Read more: 'Speak Up for Seeds' brochure (pdf)

Adapting to climate change

Science-based approaches in plant breeding and seed production, supported by excellent research, field trials and evaluations, give farmers access to the best seed innovations that play a major role in helping them to adapt to climate change. Plant breeding is the area of human activity most likely to have a positive impact on sustainable crop production in the long term. Priorities for seed innovation respond to increasing pressures on agricultural production, for example through improved tolerance to extreme weather conditions or resistance to existing and new pest and disease pressures. Significant research is also carried out to improve the nutrient and water use efficiency of new varieties, a key response to the long-term challenge of sustainable agricultural production and resource efficiency.

Read more: 'Speak Up for Seeds' brochure (pdf)

Food security

Securing reliable harvests is key to our future food security. Increasing crop yields is a prerequisite for feeding the world population and responding to other demands on agricultural production for feed, fuel, fibre and fun at the same time. It is also a crucial factor to safeguard farming’s competitiveness. Yield remains one of the major characteristics for breeders and farmers when selecting improved plant varieties. In recent decades, almost all of the increase in crop production per hectare has come from seed innovation. In addition to improvements in physical yield, modern plant varieties offer a wide range of beneficial characteristics such as plant stem strength and resistance to pests and diseases, all of which are vital to secure yields. Furthermore, innovation has greatly contributed to improve seed germination and health, and companies have developed rigorous quality control checks before placing seed on the market.

Read more: 'Speak Up for Seeds' brochure (pdf)

 

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