ESA European Seed Association is the voice of the
European seed industry. It represents the interests of
those active in research, breeding, production and
marketing of seeds of agricultural, horticultural and
ornamental plant species.
Better Regulation for Plant Protection Products
Treatment of seed with plant protection products assures
seed and plant health by restricting pests and pathogens.
This helps to secure crop quality, safety and yield. And
it can all be achieved with only very limited amounts
of chemicals! Seed Treatments therefore offer
great benefits: environmentally, in public health, and
By revising the current plant protection Directive 91/414,
the European Union now has the opportunity to create a
system that supports this effective, environmentallyfriendly
technology in Europe, and simultaneously to
promote the competitiveness of Europe's vital seed sector.
If the right choices are made, European consumers and
farmers will benefit, and Europe's technological leadership
in this area will be strengthened.
Seed is the starting point for all plant production.
Throughout history, mankind has developed plant
varieties that are ever more sophisticated, with higher
potential for yield, resistance to pests and pathogens, and
suitability for specific uses or areas of cultivation.
Protecting the seed has always been crucial for plant
breeders, seed producers, farmers and those involved in
crop protection. Protecting the seed is the base for a
healthier, better crop.
Today, increased understanding of chemistry and biology
permit effective crop protection with the help of only very
small amounts of active ingredients. The direct treatment
of the seed itself has become the cutting-edge technology
to improve plant growth, prevent or limit pests and
diseases and to attain consequently higher yields with
lowest inputs of chemicals.
Seed treatment means applying only minute quantities of
plant protection products directly to the seed itself, prior
to the sowing. Seed treatments protect the seed during
germination, and protect the plant itself during growth.
With much lower chemical intensity per hectare, it is more
environmentally friendly than spraying crops in the field.
The technology also makes it possible to combine different
applications into only one sowing procedure, helping to
reduce the use of fuel, the risks of soil erosion and
compression, and thus assisting low-intensity farming
practices and an integrated pest management policy.
Seed Treatment applications are also a very safe and
practical technology. The treatment of seed cannot be
compared to the spraying and drenching systems
regularly used in the field by growers and farmers - it
is a very precise procedure!
The actual treatment process is highly industrialized,
conducted by specialist professionals, with safety and
environmental issues carefully managed throughout.
Facilities are designed to ensure safe operating
conditions and specialities equipment protects
workers from accidental exposure to the chemicals.
By using treated seed, farmers no longer have to handle
or mix the actual chemical substances. This practically
eliminates any risks of unwanted exposure.
Seed treatments provide excellent value for money to
farmers and growers. In 2005, the worldwide seed
treatment market was worth some € 1.1 billion with the
EU still as the global leader: the farm gate value of seed
treatments in the EU is estimated at € 400 million. Global
growth of 5% per annum is predicted, particularly due to
the increased use of seed treatments instead of soilapplied
granules or early crop sprayings. It is a rapidlydeveloping
high-tech area where companies in Europe
still excel - but where continued investment and research
are essential to remain competitive in the world-wide