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EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 41 THE QUESTION IS IS THIS ENOUGH The plant sector must make an even greater contribution to the increasing demand for safe and sufficient food supplies. The development and timely uptake of innovative solutions in the plant sector will depend strongly on novel research findings efficient knowledge and technology transfer greater investment in innovation by venture capital and appropriate regulation. European farming and agro-industry is well-positioned to solve these challenges. The best way forward is to develop plants and plans for the future. This requires an integrated action that seeks to nurture research and innovation potential and ensure societal mechanisms are in place to implement improvements and develop new knowledge. In its early stages Plant ETP successfully focused on formulating a European Research Strategy and has succeeded in establishing a permanent European fund for plant research. The challenge was to translate this Strategic Research Agenda SRA launched in June 2007 into a Research Action Plan RAP5 and define priorities and instruments for its implementation. In parallel Plant ETP developed an Innovation Action Plan IAP6 to promote a better flow from innovation concept to marketable product and an Education Action Plan EAP7 to secure the development of the required human resources skills and capabilities. On March 2015 Plant ETP officially released its Action Plans on Innovation Research and Education. We have the plans now we need the action. Our challenges are global lets work together stressed Uli Schurr Chair of Plant ETP. It is important that a coordinated European research and innovation efforts are composed of short- mid- and long- term deliverables. The reason is the large range of RD timelines 1-20 years in the different innovation areas of the plant sector the variable lag-time for product delivery following adoption of new European regulations and the plant-based innovation needing long-term investment even for farmers. EXCELLENCE IN PLANT BREEDING Europe possesses a unique geographic and climatic diversity a tremendous wealth of cultivated and undomesticated crop species and long-standing plant breeding and farming management practices experience. Europe should continue to build on the excellence it has achieved in this area by promoting new initiatives to make the most of this vital natural resource. Long-term coordination of public and private efforts in the primary plant production field is urgently needed to stably align the needs of industry and farmers with the RD sector and build a basis for innovation in the sector. Public-private partnerships for open innovation in the plant sector can support translational research and ensure the effective transfer of knowledge into products and uptake of innovative new developments by end-users. The Plant ETP advocates for the allocation of a dedicated European budget for plant innovation via a public-private collaboration that can leverage additional private funds as necessary. The increasing demand for food feed fibre industrial products and energy requires a multidisciplinary approach driven by science technology and innovation. The prime drivers for success sufficient biomass of the right quality and at the right time are breeding and breeding innovation. The contribution of these drivers are recognized by many yet so far a proper qualification and quantification of the benefits of plant breeding has not been carried out. This is why the European Technology Platform Plants for the Future decided to commission a study on the economic social and environmental benefits of plant breeding in the European Union EU. The study aims to provide reliable science-based and well-understandable quantitative and qualitative insight on the benefits that plant breeding offers to societies and to the bio economy. In particular the socio- economic and environmental value of plant breeding in the EU becomes quantifiable and thus apparent. The study is ongoing and will be finalised by the end of October 2015. Plant breeding is the first and fundamental element in the bioeconomy value chain. The European plant breeding industry is constantly adapting to new demands and cultivation challenges. Its RD delivers plant varieties destined for specific end-uses as to add value to all biobased products and processes to follow. To ensure that plant breeding industry has the confidence to innovate a policy framework that supports innovation in agriculture and that encourages the uptake of agricultural technologies on the farm is crucial. TECHNOLOGY AND SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE In the next 50 years we have to produce more healthy food than ever before on less land per capita with less water energy and chemicals. We must achieve this sustainably not to overburden future generations. In addition plants become a key resource for biomass and high-value products helping to shift from a fossil-based to a biobased economy. While socio-economic approaches may have great potential to reduce food losses innovative technologies will be essential to produce more and better from less. Agriculture has always been dependent on the incorporation of new technologies often inspired by necessity. In the middle of the 20th century a number of different technologies have had a significant impact on agricultural production e.g. genetic hybrids fertilisers crop protection products mechanical tools and tractors. They have greatly facilitated the work of farmers and finally many agronomic approaches were developed to allow the best use of resources. All this progress could only happen through interdisciplinary effort bringing advancements of basic sciences and technology into good agronomic practices. 1 Innovating for Sustainable Growth A Bioeconomy for Europe EC 12th Feb 2012 2 An investment plan for Europe Brussels 26.11.2014 COM2014 903 final 3 5th Intergovernmental Report on Climate Change Working Group II Summary for Policymakers Effect on Food Supply 31.3.2014 4 EASAC report Risks to plant health 10.03.2014 5 httpwww.plantetp.orgimagesstoriesstoriesdocuments_pdfPlantETP_ResearchActionPlan per cent20corrected.pdf 6 httpwww.plantetp.orgimagesstoriesstoriesdocuments_pdfPlant per cent20ETP_InnovationActionPlan.pdf 7 httpwww.plantetp.orgimagesstoriesstoriesdocuments_pdfPlant per cent20ETP_EducationActionPlan.pdf WE HAVE THE PLANS NOW WE NEED THE ACTION. OUR CHALLENGES ARE GLOBAL LETS WORK TOGETHER.