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Responding to the challenges of a changing world: The role of new plant varieties and high quality seed in agriculture

This report details the proceedings of the 2nd World Seed Conference, held on 8–10 September 2009 at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Headquarters, to investigate the role of plant breeding in improving seed quality and crop varieties that are crucial for food security.

The proceedings contain the presentations, discussions and conclusions from a one-day policy forum and the five sessions of the two-day expert forum. Areas covered include the importance of genetic resources for plant breeding, access and benefit sharing; plant variety protection; and the importance of seed quality in agriculture.

The conclusions emphasised the importance of encouraging plant breeding to enable the production and distribution of high-quality seed. Participants highlighted the International Treaty on Plant and Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture as an innovative instrument for achieving food security through conservation and access to genetic resources, and the importance of protecting intellectual property. They also recommended that countries develop the capabilities needed to determine seed quality and certify seed varieties.

The conference was organised by the FAO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, the International Seed Federation and the International Seed Testing Association.

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