BusinessAssosementi Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary

Assosementi Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary

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Innovation and sustainability are the solutions for the future of the seed sector, which generates an annual turnover of 1 billion euros.

One billion euros in annual turnover, 208,000 hectares of land dedicated to seed production that will be officially certified in 2020 and 19,000 farmers involved in multiplication at national level. These are the figures for the Italian seed sector, which plays a fundamental role for agriculture in terms of food safety, production quality and environmental sustainability, and which is preparing for future challenges with confidence thanks to its capacity for innovation. This is what emerged from the words of institutions and key players in the sector during the “Assosementi: 100 years of innovation for a sustainable future” event with which the association representing Italian seed companies celebrated its centenary in Bologna.

“Today we are celebrating an important milestone and we are doing so with a concrete awareness of the decisive contribution that the seed sector can continue to make to the development and qualification of the Italian agri-food system,” said Giuseppe Carli, President of Assosementi, in his introductory speech. “A concrete example of our activity over the last hundred years is the evolution of maize yields, which have gone from 13 quintals per hectare in 1921 to 130 quintals today. These great results are the result of our companies’ ability to innovate, and this is the starting point for the future: in thirty years’ time there will be 10 billion of us on the planet and agriculture will be called upon to produce more, without increasing the surface area and at the same time reducing natural and chemical inputs. The seed sector is ready to provide concrete answers to meet and overcome these challenges”.

The conference was opened by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies Stefano Patuanelli, the President of the Emilia-Romagna Region Stefano Bonaccini, and the Councillor for Agriculture of the Emilia-Romagna Region Alessio Mammi.

“I would like to congratulate Assosementi on its 100th anniversary,” explained President Stefano Bonaccini in his letter. “Agriculture is facing decisive challenges such as the restart after the pandemic emergency, the fight against climate change, the need to build a fairer and more inclusive society, the use of new technologies as a formidable weapon to achieve the desired results. As the Emilia-Romagna Region, we are in the front line on all these fronts. The agricultural sector has always been the backbone of the Emilia-Romagna economy and we will continue to support it. Emilia-Romagna was the first Italian region to receive the green light from the EU for the Rural Development Programme for 2021-22: over 400 million Euros, 35 per cent more than in the past, will be dedicated to businesses, innovation, young people and good jobs. All the conditions are in place for these years to represent a decisive turning point and I am certain that your association will make an important contribution, as it has always done.”

After the speeches of Michael Keller, Secretary General of the International Seed Federation (ISF), and César Gonzalez, Public Affairs Manager of Euroseeds, the Politics, industry and institutions at the challenge of sustainability roundtable  was held The Honourable Paolo De Castro, Member of the European Parliament and member of the Agriculture Commission, and the Honourable Filippo Gallinella, President of the XIII Agriculture Commission of the Chamber of Deputies, intervened with a video message. The debate was attended by Massimo Casciello, Director General for Hygiene, Food Safety and Nutrition of the Ministry of Health, Bruno Caio Faraglia, Director of the Directorate General for Rural Development of the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, Office V, Central Plant Protection Service, Plant Production, Senator Mino Taricco, member of the 9th Commission for Agriculture, and Massimiliano Pompignoli, President of the Budget Commission of the Emilia-Romagna Regional Council. The conclusions were entrusted to the Honourable Andrea Costa, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Health.

“We hope that the European Commission will soon be able to draw up a new regulation that clearly distinguishes between transgenesis and mutagenesis,” Costa said in his video message. “Innovation in seed must be made fluid, to give birth to new varieties that are really able to fight plant diseases by genetic and not chemical means. Our farmers need to be competitive, and we have the task to help them. NGTs represent a great and extraordinary opportunity that Europe must not let slip away.”.

“The institutions are aware of the importance of the work carried out by the seed sector and the impact that controlled and certified seed can have on the quality and traceability of production. We are working on the issue of genetic improvement, which we believe to be of crucial importance for an agriculture that must ensure sustainability and productivity: this is why, together with my group, I am the first signatory of the bill to start experimenting with NGTs in the field,” said Gallinella in his video message.

The afternoon saw the presentation of the book ‘Cenni storici sulla Associazione Italiana Sementi “Assosementi”’ (Historical notes on the Italian Seed Association “Assosementi”) edited by Marco Nardi, former Director of Assosementi, who received an award for his career within the association, together with former President Francesco Bavicchi and Elisabetta Cava, administrative manager of the secretariat. A memorial award was also presented to former President Niccolo Morelli.

ASSOSEMENTI – the Italian Seed Association – represents the seed sector at national level: plant variety breeders, seed producers and exclusive seed distributors. Assosementi is a member of Euroseeds (the European seed association), and ISF.

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