By 2050, nearly 10 billion people are living on planet earth. What’s more, our climate changes and available agricultural land decreases. How can we ensure that everyone has access to healthy and varied vegetables?
Well… sometimes, one of the solutions to these challenges is smaller than you think!
It all starts with the right seeds for the right part of the world. In other words, vegetable breeding: the development of new varieties by combining characteristics of two plants into a new one.
Our local subsidiaries around the world ensure that we know which improvements new varieties require to grow in that specific climate and what the wishes and needs of the local customers are. Then our breeders set to work, focussing especially on great taste, on how well the new variety produces and how well it resists diseases and plagues… Or heat.
We select the best plants and breed by crossing plants by hand. For this we select two plants with the required characteristics. Then, we pollinate the pistil of one plant with the pollen of the other. The results are seeds of the crossing. This process is repeated until there’s a winner. The development takes 7 to 10 years.
But our innovative techniques help us to speed it up. The first leaves of the young plant can already be tested in the lab for the required combined characteristics. That shortens the process with years, as we don’t need fully grown plants.
Once we have an overall winner, seed is being produced worldwide. Then the seed returns to Enza Zaden where it is processed, tested on quality, packed and shipped over 110 countries.
The results? Increased production of quality vegetables, strong crops needing less plant protection products and a more sustainable agriculture. This way we grant people all over the world have access to healthy and varied vegetables.