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EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 47 RECENT INITIATIVES In recent years Assosementi has focused on activities to defend first the compulsory use of certified seeds to get coupled CAP subsidies then the communication campaigns to promote the use of certified seeds in winter cereals in order to maintain the quality of crops but also to indirectly finance research and innovation. In 2008 a WIC Working Group Integrated Companies has been established within the vegetable seeds section at the request of some important mother company members and now 19 companies are engaged in many projects. Road to Quality is a project shared with young plant raisers and it aims to develop a traceability system in the chain of vegetable production. Books on how to defend main vegetable crops from pathogens have been realised to disseminate information on good practices and some communication campaigns have been developed on themes like intellectual property and innovation illegal multiplication of seeds and plants grafting up until the most recent one named one seed one plant. After 30 years of service as Secretary-General Marco Nardi left his position within Assosementi the Italian Seed Association to retire at the end of September 2015. Nardi graduated with a degree in agronomy from the University of Bologna he got also a master degree in IP management. Nardi joined the Italian Seed Trade Association AISS then AIS and recently ASSOSEMENTI at the beginning of 1985 after some experience in professional agricultural magazines and with the Italian Beekeeper Federation. In his position he has been involved in the main dossiers of association activity and in charge of relations with European and international seed organisations attending all ESA and ISF congresses since 1985. Important has been his contribution to the organisation of the ISF 2000 World Seed Congress in Rome one of the most remarkable during the last decades that still holds the record of participation. CELEBRATING MARCO NARDIS CAREER Due to the importance of seed multiplication many efforts are made to strengthen relations with farmers and interprofessional agreements. Due to the importance of seed multiplication many efforts are made to strengthen relations with farmers and interprofessional agreements. For sugarbeet and vegetable seed production a system has been developed with the help of the Regione Emilia-Romagna administration to properly isolate seed fields. In the forage sector a new agreement was adopted in December 2013. In 2014 alfalfa seed production for the first time a reference interprofessional price was indicated at the end of the season as possible alternative to the prices weekly noted by the Chamber of Commerce of Bologna. RELATIONSHIPS WITH POLICY MAKERS AND ADMINISTRATIONS The presence of 18 administrative regions plus two autonomous provinces to which agriculture in Italy has been delegated and the repartition among National Ministries of the competence on main items related to seeds for example variety listing seed and phyto rules and regulations to the Ministry for Agriculture agrochemicals and seed treatment to the Ministry for Health GMOs shared between Ministry for Health and Ministry for Environment intellectual property PVRs included to the Ministry for Economic Development make the full network of relations quite complicated. However the main players are the Ministry for Agriculture also for its EU and international connections and the Regione Emilia-Romagna on the side of seed multiplication of species non-submitted to official controls. Consultations and discussions are frequent with both organisations however concrete answers and solutions often come slow. The utilised agricultural land is in total around 12.8 million hec- tares 54 per cent arable crops 27 per cent meadows and pasture land 18 per cent permanent crops like fruits. The number of agricultural farms amounts statistically to 1.6 million but only 600000 farms apply for CAP subsidies. The farm average surface is equal to 7.9 ha compared to 12.6 ha of EU27. The main arable crops are the following with the estimated rate of certified seed use In 2014 around 14500 farmers were involved in the multi- plication of certified seeds. At least another 1500 farmers have to be added for vegetable seeds. The number of seed companies that in 20132014 officially have certified seeds is around 220. The number of companies marketing vegetable seeds is close to 80. ITALIAN AGRICULTURE AND USE OF CERTIFIED SEEDS Crop Surface mioha Certified seed per cent rate Durum wheat 1288000 65 per cent Common wheat 586000 80 per cent Barley 232000 85 per cent Rice 220000 75 per cent Maize grain and silage 1210000 100 per cent Soybean 232000 80 per cent Sunflower 110000 100 per cent Alfalfa 700000 60 per cent Sugarbeet 50000 100 per cent 2014 official ISTAT statistics AssosementI estimation