Pascal Xicluna / agriculture.gouv.fr

The agro-ecological transition will necessitate changing a certain number of growing practices. It can also be helped by the selection and creation of plant varieties that are more resistant to water stress or bio-aggressors (predator insects, fungi, viruses, etc.). The challenges we face are numerous.

Climate change
Beyond the global increase in temperatures, farmers will also have to face climate disruptions whose frequency and intensity are increasing. Plant seeds and varieties can aid in increasing agricultural resiliency in the context of climate change and in the face of new pests and diseases that have appeared and will continue to appear as climate change and global trade intensify.

Plant growing methods will thus need to change and evolve to adapt. For annuals, the growth cycle will have to shift in the year (for example, earlier seeding in springtime in order to avoid droughts in the summer).

Additionally, traditional geographic growth zones for certain species could migrate north, or to higher altitude. The harvest calendar could also be modified. Tomorrow’s seeds and plants will also need to better respond to unfavorable conditions (temperature, humidity, drought, etc.).

Environmental preservation

Preserving biodiversity is a major issue. Plant seeds and varieties have a major role to play in preserving this biodiversity. France is committed to protecting biodiversity, having notably signed the Convention on Biological Diversity and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. To succeed, we will need to depend on a large diversity of actors recognized for their mission of collective interest and on the availability of a larger number of resources.

The future of plant production also must take into account saving insects like pollinators, supported by growing methods that are respectful of the environment. This restoration of biological regulations is one of the condition of success of the agro-ecological transition. Crop diversification is one key factor to which different seed and plant varieties can contribute, through the development of new species, minor crops carrying essentials for the maintenance of insects or for carrying out ecosystem services.

Creating new varieties that are less dependent on phytosanitary products or water obviously leads to a reduced use of these products, which is an important environmental and health issue.

Healthy and safe food

Agricultural production must contribute to providing a sufficient source of food that is healthy, safe, and sustainable, all while strengthening the food sovereignty and independence of France. French food industries are recognized for their quality, relying in large part on national plant production. Whether the plant products are processed before use or not, the quality of seed and plant varieties is essential for maintaining and developing quality food industries, in local, regional and national food chains.