Sustainability and climate change
Modern agriculture faces enormous challenges over the coming decades including producing sufficient and healthy food for a world population of 10 or even 11 billion people (UN estimates for 2050 / 2100 respectively1), producing more plant-based products for the wider bio-economy, and preserving wildlife, natural resources and biodiversity, under changing climatic conditions.
Plant breeding innovation will play a key role in successfully and sustainably addressing these challenges.
Recent scientific studies have proven that plant-breeding innovation already strongly contributes to the economic, social and environmental sustainability of farming, food production and the entire economy.2
For example new plant varieties are increasing crop yields while reducing the use of pesticides, fertilizers and other inputs; improving plant qualities; prolonging the shelf life of fresh produce thereby supporting healthier diets and addressing food waste. In this way, plant breeding is working for a sustainable intensification of agriculture to protect and preserve scarce natural resources.
Climate change, with more extreme and varied weather phenomena, together with the related new phytosanitary threats and crop management problems, is creating additional challenges to all breeding programmes.
Only sophisticated methods and scientific advances will enable breeders to release better, more adapted and climate tolerant plant varieties more quickly.