Dr Léon Broers

Dr Léon Broers (born 1960 in Kerkrade, the Netherlands) joined the KWS Group in 2007, taking responsibility for the Research and Breeding Division as a member of the Executive Board. Dr Broers is a plant breeder through and through. After studying plant breeding at Wageningen University, Dr Broers specialised in the cultivation of cereal varieties. In 1989, he received his doctorate in the field of resistance breeding in wheat.

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Better and more reliable yields with less pesticide and fertiliser! That’s sustainable! And that's the potential of plant breeding.
Dr Léon Broers, Board member of KWS SAAT SE

Background

2007

Joined KWS as a member of the Executive Board for the research and breeding department.

2001

He started part-time MBA studies, completed in 2003.

1997

He became Head of Breeding for EuMEA at Dutch vegetable breeder Nunhems, where he managed the European breeding programmes for various crop varieties until 2006.

1995

He returned to Europe and joined Lochow Petkus in Allones, France; as station manager he was responsible for the breeding of wheat.

1989

After completing his doctorate, he worked in Mexico at the Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo (CIMMYT). As a research assistant, he was involved in research programmes in South America and Africa in the field of resistance breeding of various cereals.

In demand: Dr Léon Broers on…

…investments in research and breeding

“We believe in modern and sustainable agriculture. The aim of our breeding work is to provide farmers with exactly the varieties that meet their requirements. Whether conventional or organic farming, it does not matter. We offer seeds that are adapted to the climate and soil conditions of the different regions, increase the yield and reduce the use of pesticides. We make enormous efforts to live up to this claim. KWS is traditionally a research-intensive company. This involves our investing in innovation and continually increasing our research and breeding expenditures. In the past fiscal year, these were around 17% of our sales.”

…the importance of innovative technologies

“Climate change, limited resources and higher productivity demands are making breeding more and more complex and demanding. The growing demand for vegetable raw materials makes us dependent on innovations. Instead of extending the acreage, which used to increase cultivation, today's goal is to minimise crop losses and maximise crop yields. This makes it increasingly important to identify promising research topics and technologies, and more importantly, to implement them in breeding.”

…the use of new breeding methods

“In this aspect, it is important to differentiate. Methods that do without the transfer of genes and gene components from other species result in nature-identical products. These products are classified as traditional breeding products by legislators. They are not genetic engineering. From our point of view, the latest breeding methods, such as genome editing, can make an important contribution to more sustainable and high-yield agriculture and expand genetic variation for increased variety. In this way, we can more quickly achieve breeding goals, such as improved plant resistance to diseases, pests and abiotic stress.”

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