Seed World

Giant Highlights

From Syngenta’s acquisition by ChemChina to the issue of global food security, industry leaders provide perspective and insight on their work.

“Who’s going to know the seed sector better than the organizations that serve the principle actors in this sector? They have historically coordinated their efforts, but never in a really systematic way.” — Glyn Chancey, Canadian Seed Growers’ Association executive director

“We’ve done a lot in the past year. We hired a breeder from Australia and a support team for him. We have access to the top technologies. We have tens of thousands of lines in the field already being evaluated, and our first products could hit the market as soon as 2018. We’ve been busy. We are looking forward to the next year and will continue to grow the program. Our objective is to grow top cereal varieties for western Canadian farmers and for their customers.”— Erin Armstrong on the launch of Limagrain Cereals Research Canada

“In 1976, when we were formed, it was one of the first times the public sector came together with the private sector to create this new vision for the future. That vision has probably become even more relevant since.” — Jeff Reid, SeCan chief executive officer

“We develop a cost-effective rational system to conserve material and also make it available to farmers, breeders and scientists. This is fundamentally important because of the dual challenges of population growth and climate change. We need to produce more food, more nutritious food on less land with less water, less fertilizer and less pesticides. This is tremendously challenging. It’s very hard to see how we can do it unless we go back to the building blocks of agriculture … to the crop diversity.” — Marie Haga, Global Crop Diversity Trust executive director

“Unlike our cousins in DuPont and Dow or Monsanto and Bayer, this is not a merger. It’s a straight acquisition by ChemChina. This has not happened yet … but we believe Syngenta will remain Syngenta as you know it. Essentially, they act as a holding company. If you look at what they’ve done with … other companies that they’ve acquired, they are interested in our know how. They are not interested in changing what we are doing, because we are very successful at what we are doing. We actually think, at Syngenta, we are in a great place because we are essentially going private, which in principle should mean you are able to think more long term about research and development investments and less quarter-to-quarter chasing your numbers and chasing your results. You’re still driving for results, but you’ve got one big shareholder and you can say ‘I’m investing in R&D for the long term.’ The other benefit we see for Syngenta is better knowledge and better access to the Chinese market. It’s a key market for us in Seedcare; it’s in our Top 5. Provided that the transaction goes through as planned, that will only grow. It’s a tremendous line of opportunity.” — Linda Nel, Syngenta Seedcare global product management lead

“We would like to make sure that, in the end, the successful common market for seed and common legislation we have for marketing and variety registration remains intact as much as possible. How this can be achieved is still very much under discussion.” — Garlich Von Essen, European Seed Association secretary-general