b'Over the years, I had developed a vision of where Enza Zaden could go in the future, he says. In 2010, I expressed inter-est to join the Board of Enza Zaden, which eventually happened in 2011.A Family Business with Global ReachMazereeuws grandfather Jacob started Enza Zaden, then called De Enkhuizer Zaadhandel, which has become a world leader in vegetable breeding. The company has been growing and flour-ishing for three generations, maintaining the same focus and love for the profession as that of the founder.As a family business, we think in generations, not in quarterly figures, Mazereeuw says. Because we are independent, we can steer our own course, make sustainable choices, respond quickly to developments in the market and continue to invest in innovation and people, he says. We want everyone to feel part of the family. Under Mazereeuws leadership, Enza Zaden has grown intoBreeder Ambroise Uwiragiye getting assistance of Crop Worker a global powerhouse with 2,900 employees and offices world- Rober Laan in selecting cucumbers in a greenhouse in Enkhuizen. wide. Despite its size, the company maintains a personal touch PHOTO: ENZA ZADEN.which he says is a testament to its roots as a family business. "We care about our people, Mazereeuw says. We look outduced. The combination of knowledge, plant material and for each other; we work together, and of course also work-lifelegislation provided a good breeding ground for entrepreneurs balance is an important aspect of the well-being of our col- to flourish. An ecosystem, including suppliers and customers, leagues in the long term. We really have a long-term focus. emerged and grew into a powerhouse of technology and devel-opment.Bridging the Gap Between Organic and ConventionalThe choice of Rotterdam as the venue for the ISF Centenary Agriculture Congress was strategic. The city represents a blend of history In recent years, Mazereeuw has seen a surge in demand forand modern advancements, symbolized by the iconic port of organic seeds.Rotterdam, a hub of connection and trade. "At the same time, we see that conventional crops areRotterdam is a perfect location. It is the city where the old becoming more sustainable, he says. I think conventional croptraditions meet today\'s modern progress, Mazereeuw says. production can learn a lot from organics, notably about sustain- In addition, the port of Rotterdam is an important symbol of able use of the soil. The knowledge that is available about howconnection and trade, which fits perfectly with the seed sectors soil life works and how we can find alternative ways of dealingcommitment to the value chains and society. And, of course, with challenges such as disease pressure. What organic can learnwe have also looked very practically. We are expecting a large from mainstream is how to feed the world on a large-scale. Aftercongress with many participants, perhaps a record number. The all, with a growing world population, you need to be ambitiousfacilities in Rotterdam, both for the congress itself and for the on a large-scale." parties, are fantastic.Mazereeuw lauds the dedicated team of experts from the ISF The Dutch Legacy in Seed Innovation and NOC, supported by Plantum staff, who meticulously planned The Netherlands, often recognized as one of the largest globalthe Congress to ensure a memorable experience for all attend-seed exporters, has cultivated a thriving seed sector, makingees. With a shared vision and collaborative spirit, they are poised it an ideal location for Enza Zaden to maintain leadership, andto celebrate a century of achievements and innovations in the an excellent choice as host country for the ISF World Seedseed industry. Congress.We can organize a perfect event, he adds. But without The Netherlands is successful in the seed sector, and thiscongress attendees, it wont be a success. We are really looking is not by chance, Mazereeuw says. After the Second Worldforward to celebrating this centennial together and making it War, food security was very important. The Dutch governmentmemorable event.invested heavily in education, such as Wageningen UniversityHe hopes the Congress will successfully honor the past and lay and research institutes. Plant breeders\' rights were also intro- a fertile foundation for the future of the global seed sector.SWINTERNATIONAL EDITION 2024SEEDWORLD.COM /9'