Plant Breeding Academy
Plant Breeding Academy
Plant Breeding Academy
University of California
Plant Breeding Academy

Success in The Netherlands

Plant Breeding Academy in Seed Valley - The Netherlands

EPBA Enkhuizen
October 23, 2010. Last week, Enkhuizen in The Netherlands was the stage for the European Plant Breeding Academy, a two year study program for plant breeders. This international program is one of the measures which seed companies are taking to respond to the threatened shortage of highly qualified breeders.

Participants at the European Plant Breeding Academy come from French and Israeli branches of Syngenta and a Spanish branch of Monsanto (Seminis). Other students come from seed companies in Germany, Belgium, Finland and Thailand. The University of California in Davis (US) organises the program. Lectures and practical sessions are given in the Enkhuizen based Seed Valley companies Enza Zaden, Incotec and Syngenta and at inspection and quality organisation Naktuinbouw. Professionals from the above companies give guest lectures and demonstrations.

Demand for breeders rises
The European Plant Breeding Academy responds to the trend which sees fewer numbers of graduate plant breeders in the face of increasing demand from the steadily growing seed companies. Interest in specialised (academic) breeding studies has declined significantly. On the other hand, courses in life sciences are gaining in popularity and cell biologists, molecular biologists and biotechnologists at seed companies play an important role in breeding research. Many of these highly qualified personnel have the capacities to lead a breeding programme, but lack the specialist knowledge with regard to genetics, statistics and intellectual property laws. The European Plant Breeding Academy focuses specifically on these people; they learn additional skills and study the required theory.

For more information on the Plant Breeding Academy, please contact Allen Van Deynze or Joy Patterson at or visit

About Seed Valley
Worldwide, the Netherlands has an unrivalled position in plant breeding and the export of horticultural seeds. In particular, Seed Valley, the area between Enkhuizen and Warmenhuizen in the province of North Holland, is home to many specialised seed companies which deliver high quality propagating material to vegetable and flower growers all over the world. This makes Seed Valley a global centre of “green software”; this is where the genetic programs are developed which determine whether a plant is resistant to disease, how a vegetable tastes and the colour and size of a flower.

The Seed Valley cluster also includes suppliers of services and machines specifically for the seed sector. In 2008, the cluster of seed companies joined forces in the Seed Valley Foundation. The mission of the Seed Valley partnership is to strengthen the economic position and anchoring of the cluster in North Holland. The Seed Valley Foundation hopes to achieve this by investing in 'employer branding', promoting the inflow of professional labour, innovation and knowledge exchange. Facilitating and helping to organise the European Plant Breeding Academy is one of these joint activities.

About the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center
The Seed Biotechnology Center was established at UC Davis in 1999 to mobilize the research, educational and outreach resources of the University of California in partnership with the seed and biotechnology industries, and to facilitate discovery and commercialization of new seed technologies for agricultural and consumer benefits.


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