“Innovations in plant breeding are enabling us to develop plants that meet the needs of a changing world,” said Jean-Christophe Gouache, president of the International Seed Federation (ISF) at the opening ceremony of the ISF World Seed Congress 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. “This is down to the ‘power of genetics. Unlocking the potential of genetic resources to produce more with less is the fantastic mission of the seed industry over the coming decades.
“In previous decades, it was enough to use genetic power to boost the efficiency of agriculture. Increasingly, we need to anticipate the role and the impact of our products to ensure that farming systems are more resilient and more sustainable than ever before,” said Gouache. “Yes, the ‘power of genetics’ can deliver on both efficiency and sustainability.”
Honorable Senator James McGrath, Assistant Minister to the Australian Prime Minister, told delegates: “The responsibility for delivering higher yields and more nutritious food rests on the innovation that the seed industry brings to world food production. Your organizations support the entire food chain globally, and are driving innovation in food and fodder production.”
ISF Secretary General Michael Keller outlined the eight position papers that will be presented to the General Assembly, and explained their link with ISF’s strategic objectives and vision. “A world where the best quality seed is accessible to all,” Keller said.
“Through its positions, ISF is able to take a clear stance on key industry issues and drive them at an international level. Together with its members, national seed associations, ISF is promoting policy decisions that affect the whole seed industry,” explained Keller, highlighting ISF’s coordinated outreach and communication efforts regarding the regulation of the products of plant breeding innovation, and the national implementation of international standard on phytosanitary measures.
During the three-day event (3-6 June) more than 1200 delegates from 64 countries will discuss, debate and collaborate on the opportunities and challenges facing the seed industry. Highlights of the Congress program include a roundtable on the ‘Future face of the seed sector’ and a panel discussion on the international standard on phytosanitary measures. The post-Congress Thematic Day at Queensland University (7 June) will explore the Congress theme ‘Where innovation shines’ with presentations on trends in agricultural technology, including block chain data, speed breeding and robotics.