Did You Know Plant Breeding Innovation Saved 7x Belgium?
Plant breeding innovation generated many positive environmental and socio-economic benefits. If innovation had been stopped in 2000, the EU would have become a net importer of major arable crops by 2020, including wheat and other cereals .
Breeding for higher yields and healthy crops helps save natural resources and optimize land use. To measure this, a study revealed that without plant breeding innovation, agricultural lands would have to be expanded by more than 21.5 million hectares*, which is 7 times the size of Belgium** .
Further enabling the development and use of precision breeding methods (like genome editing/NGTs) will be critical for Europe to address climate change and to achieve sustainable agriculture.
* Global agricultural acreage in 2020 if plant breeding in the EU had been terminated in 2000 for major arable crops.
** Total area of Belgium is 30 688 Km2 which equals 3 068 800 Ha