Is securing our food supply really such a challenge for the future? Doesn’t Europe already have an abundance when it comes to supply and choice?
We believe that Europe’s seed sector has a duty and must therefore play a role in both securing Europe’s own food demands and contributing to the world’s food supply.
Most Europeans are unaware that the EU currently relies on about one third the size of its domestic arable land outside its own territory to ensure European food1.
With the global population expected to rise to almost 10 billion by 2050, the demand for food is likely to grow by 50%2. European and global agricultural output will therefore need to increase significantly over the coming decades.
But how can we increase agricultural output without using more land? We need to grow food in a more sustainable and efficient manner and ensure that yields per hectare increase. This will only be possible with innovation.
Plant breeding innovation is a major driver to increasing the availability of our food, for example by strengthening resistance to plant diseases and improving the tolerances of crops to stresses, drought and floods.
Food security can be improved significantly through plant breeding innovation, resulting in crop enhancements that can lead to higher quantities of food produced in less time, with fewer inputs, of a higher quality and at affordable prices.
With seed potentially travelling through more than half of the world’s continents during its lifespan, trade policies can directly impact the global food security situation. Indeed seed trade is a major contributor to food security worldwide: Not only does it help to provide more choice; it also offers a greater range of options to speed up product development and address specific markets.
Plant health protection contributes to sustainable agriculture and food security, as planting healthy seeds is the basis for growing healthy and high-yielding crops. If the seed is infected with pests or diseases, these pests and diseases may multiply and affect the growing crop, leading to severe harvest losses. Seed treatment is also crucial for food security. Treatment of seed with plant protection products assures seed and plant health by restricting pests and pathogens. This helps to secure crop yield, quality and safety. And it can all be achieved with only very limited amounts of chemicals, as seed treatment means applying only very little quantities of plant protection products directly to the seed itself, prior to the sowing.