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This tiny country feeds the world: how the Netherlands has become an agricultural giant

National Geographic published a story in the September 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine. KeyGene’s CEO Arjen van Tunen talks about Dutch firms being among the world leaders in the seed business.

‘Dutch firms are among the world leaders in the seed business, with close to $1.7 billion worth of exports in 2016. Yet they market no GMO products. A new seed variety in Europe’s heavily regulated GMO arena can cost a hundred million dollars and require 12 to 14 years of research and development, according to KeyGene’s Arjen van Tunen.
By contrast, the latest achievements in the venerable science of molecular breeding—which introduces no foreign genes—can deliver remarkable gains in five to 10 years, with development costs as low as $100,000 and seldom more than a million dollars. It is a direct descendant of methods employed by farmers in the Fertile Crescent 10,000 years ago.’

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