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14 I EUROPEAN SEED I EUROPEAN-SEED.COM European Seed Why is a constant stream of innovations important for plant breeding and the seed sector Michiel van Eijk At present the most important driver for innovations in plant breeding and the seed sector are the challenges we face with respect to food insecurity as a consequence of the growing world pop- ulation and climate change. We all know by 2050 the world population is expected to grow to nine billion people. This means food production must be almost doubled. This has to be achieved with the existing land surface but with less water and less impact on the environment. As a result theres a strong call for better performing cropscrops suited to growth in more arid regions crops that are salt tolerant and can grow in regions where fresh water is scarce but salt water is available or crops that better withstand diseases and plagues. And of course crops with increased yield which is the most important and yet most complex trait in crops. Another driver for innovation comes from people like you and me. A growing group of consumers are demanding healthier and safer products. We want more choice and we look for food thats highly nutritious looks appetising and can be stored for a long time. A final point about what drives innovation has to do with the globally competitive environment the seed breeding industry works within. The introduction of new varieties to the market especially highly successful ones can make the difference between being successful Crop Innovations in a Changing World Looking Back and Ahead A look at ag-biotech company Keygene. By Kari Belanger Drivers of innovation in plant breeding and the seed sector ground-breaking technologies bioinformatics analysis and the importance of partnerships are but a few topics of discussion between Michiel van Eijk chief scientific officer at KeyGene and European Seed. In this interview Van Eijk elaborates on past present and future innovations that affect plant breeding. PhotocourtesyofKeygene