by Em-Em S. Mandanas
Photo by: International Seed Federation
Philippine Seed Industry Association (PSIA) President, Dr. Mary Ann P. Sayoc, and Executive Director, Dr. Gabriel O. Romero met with various leaders, representatives, and experts from the global seed sector, during the 73rd World Seed Congress (WSC)in Barcelona, Spain, from 16–18 May 2022.
With the theme “Sowing a vibrant future,” the International Seed Federation (ISF) has gathered more than 1,400 seed professionals from around 400 agricultural companies and 60 countries, to tackle the need to enhance global food production and nutrition through innovative and sustainable agricultural production.
During the WSC 2022 press conference, ISF General Secretary Michael Keller said that “seed is the starting point of the food chain,” emphasizing that plant breeding of new varieties plays a very crucial role in improving agricultural production. He further encouraged the international seed sector to greatly invest in research as it is the key to increasing agricultural productivity and food production.
Moreover, with the increasing global population, ISF President Donald Coles said that the food producers are challenged “…to grow more using the same area of land, using fewer natural resources, and more sustainably.” Coles reiterated that public-private partnerships in plant breeding, over the past five decades have aided in addressing the challenge of booming population to food production by increasing agricultural productivity.
The occasion highlighted the significance of public-private partnerships, peace, and cooperation at the local, national, and international levels, in ensuring a fast and systematic movement of seeds and farming inputs globally, making these diverse and competitive farming technologies available to our farmers. Sessions and activities for the WSC 2022 also discussed policies that need further harmonization and will greatly and positively impact global seed trade and farmer access to new products, such as gene editing for crop improvement and a single passport or systems approach toward efficient seed transportation.
While the seed sector continues to make collective efforts to ensure that an adequate supply of widely adaptable, better-quality seed varieties is available to our farmers, we also have to promote sustainable processes, from the delivery to the actual use of these farming technologies.
PSIA Executive Director Romero, in his video presentation, highlighted eco-friendly, integrative, and advanced agricultural technologies in the Philippines, which include plastic-free seed treatments, integrated seed processing systems adopted by small to large-scale companies, and drone-phenotyping mechanisms for rapid and efficient data derivation and analysis over large farming areas.
Dr. Romero also shared that various companies from Argentina, Italy, and Pakistan have expressed their interest to partner with local seed companies in the Philippines to offer vegetable seeds, conventional rice hybrids, and genetically modified corn hybrids. He also met with the World Food Prize Winner, Simon Groot, the founder of East-West Seeds, who excitingly shared recommendations for kangkong (water spinach) varieties to grow in the country.