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France: launch of the new Seeds and Plants plan for a Sustainable Agriculture (SPAD)

Launch of the new Seeds and Plants plan for a Sustainable Agriculture: a new version of the plan for agro-ecology, adaptation to climate change and food sovereignty.

At the international conference for green development of the seed sector organized by FAO on November 4th and 5th 2021, Julien Denormandie, the French minister of Food and Agriculture, announced the launch of the new Seeds and Plants plan for a Sustainable Agriculture.

As the world’s leading exporter of seeds, France has a genetic heritage and know-how from a long history and internationally recognized. 

Developed in close collaboration with the actors of the sector, this new version of the plan follows from the Seeds and Sustainable Agriculture plan launched in 2008 and the Seeds and Plants plan for a Sustainable Agriculture from 2016. It provides for a tight number of actions organized around four areas of work:

Diversity of variety and species
Quality food that respects the environment
Participatory approaches and the use of new techniques
Scientific expertise at the service of public authorities and society.

In line with the orientation of the agricultural component of the plan France 2030 which relies on varietal selection as a lever for the transformation of agriculture, this plan focuses especially on the role of seeds in cultivated diversity. It aims at promoting complex plant covers, which increases the biological regulation and resilience of the cultivation systems. To this end, it is planned, for example, to evaluate how suitable varieties are for cultivation in mixtures or in association of species. Today, each variety is evaluated separately. 

The goal will also be to facilitate the return of ancient varieties on the market, and to pursue the commitments for the sustainable preservation of French genetic resources.

This plan was developed with the objectives of the European strategy “from farm to fork”, which identifies seeds as an essential lever to achieve a transition towards a more sustainable agriculture and adapt to climate change. A more thorough evaluation of the effectiveness of varieties to resist pests and use water and minerals from the soil. Taking these criteria into account when evaluating varieties will push breeders to orient their research towards these characteristics. 

Also, in order to contribute to food quality, the plan will strengthen the evaluation of organoleptic and nutritional criteria (omega 3 and protein content…). Actions will also be conducted in favor of the development of varieties more adapted to organic farming conditions.

“France is a world leader in seeds and plants. The quality and reliability of its productions are recognized worldwide and are the basis for sustainable, quality agriculture and food. With this new Seeds and Plants plan for a Sustainable Agriculture, all of the players involved in the selection are getting organized to make it progress for a more resilient and sovereign agriculture.”

Julien Denormandie
“Positioned upstream in the agri-food chain, seeds and plants are a key element to meet the challenges of food safety and diversity, economic and environmental. This plan aims to strengthen the preservation of plant genetic resources, the quality and efficiency of variety evaluation by benefiting from technological advances, and to make better use of the acquired data, in order to strengthen the contribution of seeds and plants to those challenges. Prepared by the permanent technical committee for the selection of cultivated plants, it brings together all actors of this excellent French sector for its implementation. GEVES, a public interest group founded by INRAE, the Ministry of Agriculture and SEMAE, will assist in the implementation of this plan.”

Alain Tridon - general director of GEVES (group for the study and control of varieties and seeds)


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