Covid-19 crisis – A message from Andrew Newby, BSPB Chairman

Our vital industry in the COVID-19 crisis.

The devastating Coronavirus pandemic has sent shock waves through every part of society, through every sector of the economy. Each day brings new restrictions on the way we live our lives, and the world looks set to be a very different place in the aftermath of the outbreak.

This tragic global crisis has also highlighted the vital role of British agriculture and its allied industries in safeguarding the nation’s food supply. A reminder that food is a basic human need, and that the importance of supporting a productive domestic farming industry cannot be overlooked.

Together, plant breeders, seed suppliers and farmers are the critical foundation of the crop production and processing chain. Our partnership feeds and sustains the population.

Working under challenging conditions, BSPB members and staff have continued essential operations in recent weeks, not only to maintain breeding programmes for the next generation of varieties, but also to safeguard supplies of basic and pre-basic seed of current varieties as the seedstock for certified seed production.

Our future harvests depend on the provision of these basic activities. Your continued support, through farm-saved seed payments which now account for around 30% of total income to plant breeders, is vital.

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