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diversification_article_by_Pierre_Flye_CEO_MAS Seeds

Diversifying crops to support the agroecological transition

By e.berteloot@maisadour.com - On 12.09.2022

Haut-Mauco, September 12th 2022

MAS Seeds is focusing on crop diversification to strengthen its development in the coming years. What does this involve? 

At MAS Seeds, diversification includes several crops and mixtures of species that we have been developing for several years: alfalfa, soybeans, rapeseed, sorghum, fodder mixtures and cover crops, as well as cereals. The experience we’ve gained since 2016 in Italy has brought us to develop this portfolio throughout southern Europe. Today, this set of crops and mixtures represents 10% of MAS Seeds' turnover and offers significant growth opportunities. We want to continue developing our crop diversification portfolio to meet the needs of preserving the soil structure, nitrogen supply, carbon sequestration, improving pollination or fighting pests. Many of those issues are related to the agroecological transition. 


What role can MAS Seeds play in this transition? 

Our obvious mission is to provide seeds. We want our seeds to be innovative and above all, sustainable. The central question is: what products can improve the sustainability of maize and sunflower crops, for example, allow them to resist the lack of water, climatic hazards, use less fertilizer, less chemical products, less insecticides? Companion plants respond to many of these issues and our Italian teams have developed know-how in this field. We now want to extend it to the European level and therefore increase our investments. Acquired in 2016, the MAS Seeds site in San Pietro di Morubio, Italy, specializing in fodder and plant cover mixtures, will multiply its production capacity this autumn to supply both the Italian market and neighboring countries. We are also investing in developing and marketing the diversification crop portfolio by creating positions and increasing partnerships.  


What is the demand in European market? 

The market for covers crops and other diversification crops is growing all over Europe and regulatory changes will only increase the need. For cover crops, obligations or incentives exist everywhere and even without it, it is in the interest of farmers to use cover crops, given the evolution of the price of fertilizers and raw materials. The second area of growth is the protein autonomy in France: in particular, in connection with the European Protein Plan, we want to expand our soybean and rapeseed portfolio for the local sectors of non-GMO oils and cakes, such as Graines d'Alliance, a soybean processing factory belonging to Maisadour and Vivadour Cooperatives in the south-west France that aims to supply the animal nutrition market with GMO-free and 100% local soybean meal. 


How to make this shift? 

We are part of a Cooperative Group, which is an essential element to ensure the transition to an agriculture that is both productive and agroecological. Because it requires a lot of resources and know-how, both internal and external. That's why we've put collaboration at the heart of our strategy. We have acquired delegations for the European market on seed varieties from all over the world. Our teams are working on the development and technical positioning of these seeds in the local environment. In addition to the cover crop portfolio, we develop soybeans, rapeseed, alfalfa or sorghum to diversify the crop rotation.  

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