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42 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM Application of new technologies will enhance our ability to improve crops further. Taking advantage of the genetic diversity of plants will not only give consumers a wider choice of food but it will also expand the range of plant-derived products including novel forms of pharmaceuticals biodegradable plastics bio- energy paper and more. Therefore the contribution that the European plant sector makes to build the bio economy to achieve the challenges of food security and safety to mitigate climate change and maintain employment in Europe is vital. It is more important than ever for the EU to maintain agricultural activity and competitiveness. More than ever progress in productivity will rely on genetics while productivity gains were still up to 50 per cent due to technical and managerial progress between 1940 and 1980 since then almost 90 per cent of this increase depends on improved genetics. PUBLIC PERCEPTIONS Europe can only maintain its position in the global development of the bioeconomy if society is open and supportive to all relevant technologies and innovations. The implementation of technologies must be considered relative to their contribution in addressing global societal challenges and needs. Europe should aim to support all technologies in a balanced way and be able to combine advantages of various technologies as no single approach will provide the full solution. This will lead to a new approach of one WITH the other overcoming the current situation of one OR the other. The urgency of the huge tasks ahead demands an open- minded approach. The general public is not only important as the consumer of biobased products but also as the societal force that supports or hinders innovations. There is little public recognition of the fact that the production of sufficient and safe food in a sustainable manner requires state-of-the-art research and a strong agricultural supply industry. The lack of attractiveness of plant sciences and agriculture begins at school. For the implementation of a future bio economy Plants for the future ETP aims to increase dialogue between public and plant sectors in order to overcome the hesitation and scepticism of many parts of the European societies vis--vis generation and utilisation of knowledge about biological systems. More effort is needed to convey the high- tech innovative nature of the plant sector and the worthwhile career opportunities they can offer. There is a need to put plant science and agriculture into a broader context so that students as well as policy makers are better able to see their relevance. Editors Note Silvia Travella is the coordinator of the European Technology Platform Plants for the Future. INDUSTRY IN ACTION The Fascination of Plants Day FoPD initiative which was launched in 2012 by the European Plant Science Organisation EPSO across Europe and by Plant ETP at the European Parliament has become a global event. It promotes plant sciences to the gen- eral public politicians and research councils. It is a great success in terms of the number of events organised in university departments institutes botanic gardens companies and public places interacting with and inspiring the public and schools with a diverse range of activities. Several other initiatives have been put in place to improve the public appreciation of plant science plant biotechnology and agriculture. They can be found in the Education Action Plan of the Plant ETP. For more information on the 2015 Fascination of Plants Day turn to page 44. Hazera brings you expertise innovation and local support. We grow hand-in-hand with our partners. The succes of our customers is at the heart of everything we do. Expertise Innovation Support Committed to Growing Together