The start of the food chain and other consumption chains is the seed. Traditionally, it tends to be forgotten and people start to talk about the plant and the product obtained thereof, but before that there is the phase that involves seed, the only very indispensable input for the sustenance of the food chain as we understand it, secure and diverse.
The seed has a relevant value that is still not given enough significance, not only for farmers, but especially for consumers and for society in general.
Plant breeding is a highly technological activity of great economic importance, based on the research and development of new plant varieties. They respond to end consumer demands and ensure the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the entire food chain and other industrial chains.
Between 1960’s and 2000, there were spectacular increases in all crops, which grew between 1% and 3% annually. This means, for example, that in the case of wheat, productivity increased during this period between 100% and 200%, depending on the crops. Other essential crops, like potatoes, have increased almost 80% (Pingali&Rajaram. World wheat facts and trends. 1999. CIMMYT Institute. Mexico DF). Some crops, such as tomato, have experienced increases up to 1,000%.
About 40% of this increase in productivity is directly attributable to plant breeding (Responding to the challenges of a changing world: the role of new plant varieties and high-quality seed in agriculture. Second World Seed Conference. FAO. 2009).