The EU seed and plant reproductive material market is one of the biggest in the world. EU seed companies are highly diversified, according to their size, crops portfolio, geographical area covered and activities carried out. Some sectors are dominated by big companies, while in other sectors small and medium-sized (SME) companies play an important role in providing farmers with new plant varieties.
Innovation in plant breeding, together with other innovations in agriculture, form the backbone of the agriculture and the source of improved varieties. Plant breeding companies contribute to a sufficient, sustainable and healthy food supply, through the development of plant varieties with improved characteristics. This becomes more important in view of the already visible impacts of climate change – for example, extended drought periods, more frequent extreme weather events, and new diseases. Furthermore, new plant varieties can contribute to a more sustainable farming system by decreasing the use of pesticides.