Seed World

The World Seed Congress is in One Week. Let’s Learn About Spain

When you think of the Spanish seed industry, what’s the first thing you think of? For Eduard Fito, the first thing that comes to mind is a multitude of produce.

“Spain is famous in all of Europe for being one of the major product producers — it’s a place where you can get almost all vegetables year-round,” Fito, past president of the International Seed Federation (ISF) and president at Semillas Fitó.

The only region that can compare, according to Fito, is Sicily, though he says once spring is in full swing, it’s no competition who the stronger vegetable producer is.

“Among the vegetables, Spain is known for peppers and tomatoes from the Almeria region above all,” he says.

The rich Barcelona seed industry is why ISF wanted to host their World Seed Congress there after two years without an in-person conference. Not only that, but Fito says Barcelona offers other things as well: it’s beauty!

But when it comes down to it, the Spanish seed industry is expansive and goes hand in hand with another topic ISF is tackling diversity in seed.

A Mature and Diverse Industry

Fito says the best way to describe the Spanish seed industry is with one word: mature.

“It’s an important market for vegetables, as we mentioned, but there’s a lot of Asian companies poking their heads in the market to see about its investment opportunities,” he says.

Behind tourism, the food industry is one of the largest industries in Spain, contributing 10.6% to GDP and 14.2% to employment according to Statistica. In addition, Spain is reported to have more than 17 million hectares of farmland, which is about 13% of the EU’s total area and 750,000 farmers.

While there might be a few issues in Spain’s agriculture sector, including seed piracy, it’s not an issue that is isolated to Spain.

“We’re improving our indicators due to a very well-organized seed association and we’re putting in mechanisms to monitor the infractions,” Fito says. “There’s a lot of time and devotion given to improve the situation.”

The Spanish agriculture industry will continue to improve, Fito predicts, especially as an influx of seed companies begin to move breeding stations to Spain.

“There’s an atmosphere of talented professionals in Spain that’s difficult to find elsewhere,” he says. “The knowledge and innovation in Spain is increasing, and that’s really exciting.”

Connecting Together Again

While May might not be the opportune time to see field trials, Fito says it’s the best time to make connections.

“It’s dry between the two seasons in Spain, but because of that, it’s the best moment to talk to people and explore opportunities,” he says. “Especially companies not operating in Europe.”

But, whether you’re in Europe or out of the continent, Fito believes it’ll be fantastic to connect again at the Congress.

“It’ll be an excellent opportunity for us all to start getting in contact again to find new opportunities,” he says. “It’s great to keep in contact with the people you already know, but in person is where you will meet new people that you might not have the opportunity to connect with.

“The weather in May is excellent, and it’s my favorite month in Barcelona,” he says. “Meeting at the Congress here will be an excellent opportunity for the global seed industry.”

Want to read more about Spain and ISF? Check out:

A Taste of Spain: Looking into Spanish Agriculture

ISF Calls for Continued Seed Supply to Ukraine

ISF Launches Four Initiatives to Advance Seed Resilience

ISF President Aims to Bridge the Communication Divide

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