ISF World Seed Congress 2016



Welcome to the ISF World Seed Congress 2016 Website created specifically for this event.
ISF is a non-governmental, non-profit making organization. ISF has represented its members' interests since 1924 and is widely regarded as the voice of the global seed industry. GO to their website at: to learn more about their vision, mission, values, and priorities, as well as about the next ISF World Seed Congress.

Content is from the site's 2016 archived pages. The new owners suggest visitors to the site consider it as a historical reference for the 2016 event.


ISF and the Uruguayan National Organizing Committee invite you to join us in Punta del Este, Uruguay from 15 to 18 May 2016.

The International Seed Federation together with the Uruguayan Seed Chamber (CUS) and the Uruguayan Plant Breeders Association (URUPOV) will be organizing the ISF World Seed Congress 2016 in Uruguay.

In South America, between Argentina and Brazil, strategically located on the Atlantic Ocean and the River Plate, Uruguay is a major player in import/exports of goods in the whole region.
The country is renowned for the excellent natural pastures and it´s gentle landscape with plenty of rivers and streams, temperate climate and the beauty of its beaches. A “new” country, almost 200 years since Independence (1825), growing and developing, recognized for the quality and hospitality of their people.

In recent years Uruguay has increased the area of sustainable agriculture (soybeans, rice, wheat, corn, barley, sorghum), with a unique and innovative soil conservation plan. Forestry and livestock (dairy, beef and sheep) are recognized worldwide for their quality and natural production systems.
The Congress will take place in Punta del Este, the pearl of Latin America, located over the Atlantic Ocean which embraces oceanic beaches and magical sunsets.

You will have the chance to taste a delightful asado served with Uruguayans finest wines like the world famous Tannat. The Economist named Uruguay as the modern country with rich history and a bright future “Country of the year 2013”.

We kindly invite you to Punta del Este to share the “natural way forward in business and life”.
Pablo Civetta 
Chair of the National Organizing Committee


As the International Seed Federation’s first South American President I am extremely proud to invite you to the 67th ISF World Seed Congress. 

The 2016 Congress will be hosted by Uruguay, a vibrant country situated at the gateway of the Mercosur which exists to promote free trade. Interestingly, part of ISF’s mission is to create the best environment for the global movement of seed.

The ISF World Seed Congress brings together a diverse cross-section of people from across the seed sector and from around the globe who share a common purpose, pride and passion.
I believe we share an understanding of the challenges presented by population growth, climate change and food security. I also believe that we share a commitment to finding solutions through our wealth of knowledge and insight. The ISF World Seed Congress provides a unique forum for us to do exactly this.

The agenda for World Seed Congress is driven by international issues. For the first time, the 2016 Congress will incorporate a regional focus – ‘Spotlight on South America’ – which will get to the heart of issues specific to this region.

I look forward to welcoming you to this spectacular congress in this unique country at this critical time in the seed industry’s history.
Alvaro Eyzaguirre 
International Seed Federation
See you in Punta del Este!

The natural way forward in business & life

The natural way forward in business & life is the event slogan and theme to inspire communication and activities during the ISF World Seed Congress 2016 in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Nature is an essential part of Uruguay’s identity. The country landscape features mostly rolling plains and low hill ranges with a fertile lowland carved with a complex network of rivers and streams. Pure water, national parks, diverse and abundant flora and a pleasant climate pattern which is temperate and uniform. The Atlantic coastline with dunes, lagoons and perfect surf and fishing.

Uruguayans are liberal, relaxed and friendly people who enjoy stability, security and quality of living. They delight in showing their homeland, passions and traditions. 

Land, people, soul, spirit, traditions, food, it’s all about nature!
Nature is all here! Uruguay is where something natural happens every day!
We look forward to your participation.

Agriculture in Uruguay

The geography of Uruguay makes the nation well suited to agriculture. As a result, much of the countryside (90%) is used for agriculture goods like grain, beef, milk, wool, wood and citrus, giving Uruguay an important status as a South American country and global exporter of agriculture goods. 

Agriculture represents more than 8% of Uruguay’s GDP and 75% of the Country’s total exports are agricultural products. Its main trading partners are its fellow Mercosur members, China, the United States and European Union. Some other Asian countries have grown in importance over the last few years.

Close to 90% of the land in Uruguay is suitable for agricultural production. In 2014, the total area of land under cultivation amounted to three million hectares with soybean, wheat, rice, corn and sorghum as major crops. 85% percent of the land is devoted to natural and improved pasture-based stock rearing. 

Uruguay has a predictable regulatory process; ranks 10th among countries in the number of hectares planted with biotech varieties, is a global leader in Plant Variety Protection, and maintains a strong enforcement system in the seed industry. These combined traits create good business opportunities for counter season production for foreign companies.





Opening Ceremony
Date: Sunday 15 May 2016
Time: 18:00h - 20:00h 
Venue: Conrad Punta del Este Ballroom
Dress code: Business

A formal and a warm welcome to all attendees and guests of ISF World Seed Congress 2016 will take place at Conrad Punta del Este Ballroom.

A welcome drink will follow in the foyer area. Then delegates have the choice to enjoy dine around at local restaurants on their own. 

Welcome Party
Date: Monday 16 May 2016
Time: to be advised
Venue: to be advised
Dress code: Business Casual

A fun and informal get-together to enjoy local culture and network opportunities.

Gala Dinner
Date: Wednesday 18 May 2016
Time: to be advised
Venue: Conrad Punta del Este Ballroom
Dress code: Black-Tie / Business suit

A formal event to celebrate defining moments with elegance and rhythm.



More Background On The World Seed Congress

The International Seed Federation (ISF) World Seed Congress is a premier event in the global seed industry, serving as a pivotal gathering for stakeholders across the sector. The ISF itself is dedicated to supporting the movement and quality of seed worldwide and advocates for the interests of its members in global policymaking. It tackles various facets of the industry, including plant breeding, seed health, disease resistance, and phytosanitary matters, among others. The organization's efforts are rooted in sustainability, aiming to ensure that the seed industry contributes positively to agricultural productivity and food security.

The annual World Seed Congress, first held in 1924 in London, is ISF's flagship event, bringing together principal architects and decision makers of the seed industry. It is a unique forum that facilitates the development of industry knowledge, networks, and the negotiation of trade agreements. The congress showcases the latest in seed technology, research, and innovation, and addresses the most pressing challenges facing the global seed sector, including those related to climate change, biodiversity, and sustainability.

The 2016 Congress, themed 'The Natural Way Forward in Business and Life', exemplified ISF's commitment to these issues, underscoring the importance of the natural progression in both business practices and lifestyle choices in the context of the seed industry. The event attracted movers and shakers from the seed world, focusing on forward-thinking approaches to business and sustainability.

The Congress not only serves as a platform for discussing key industry issues but also celebrates achievements and innovations within the seed sector. Companies like Syngenta have been recognized for their contributions, with innovative exhibition stands and efforts that have been acknowledged as best designed at the event. Such recognitions highlight the importance of creativity, innovation, and excellence within the industry.

As the seed industry continues to evolve, the ISF World Seed Congress remains a vital event for fostering collaboration, sharing knowledge, and promoting sustainable practices. It exemplifies the global seed industry's commitment to addressing the challenges of feeding a growing population, protecting biodiversity, and ensuring the sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.


The International Seed Federation (ISF) is a non-governmental, non-profit organization that plays a pivotal role in representing the global seed industry's interests. Established in 1924, ISF is recognized as the voice of the seed industry worldwide. Its mission is centered on creating the best environment for the global movement of seed and promoting plant breeding and innovation in seed. ISF's vision is to ensure that the best quality seed is accessible to all, supporting sustainable agriculture and food security​​.

ISF's governance structure and activities are designed to support its mission and vision. The federation works collaboratively with its members, shaping strategic objectives and engaging in activities that address the seed sector's challenges and opportunities. These include increasing recognition of the seed industry's contributions to food security and sustainable agriculture, facilitating the free movement of seed within a science-based regulatory framework, promoting intellectual property rights for seeds and associated technologies, and publishing trade rules to standardize international transactions​​.

The ISF Secretariat, based in Nyon, Switzerland, embodies the organization's international outlook, with a team composed of members from various nationalities, reflecting the global nature of the seed industry. The Secretariat oversees the federation's daily operations, technical areas, and communications, led by the Secretary General. The ISF also has an Executive Committee and various coordination, advisory, and expert groups dedicated to specific areas within the seed sector, such as disease resistance, phytosanitary matters, plant breeding, seed health, and seed treatment​​.

ISF's work encompasses several key areas critical to the seed industry, including the development of disease-resistant varieties, addressing phytosanitary matters, supporting plant breeding innovation, and ensuring seed health and quality. The federation adopts a systems approach to manage pest risks associated with seed movement and works on establishing and protecting intellectual property rights for seeds and plant varieties​​.

Furthermore, ISF represents the seed industry at international and inter-governmental organizations, including the OECD, UPOV, IPPC, FAO, CBD, and WIPO, working towards regulations that support the global seed movement, protect plant varieties, and encourage innovation within the industry​​.


The Federation (ISF) has a significant impact on the global seed sector, representing the interests of its members who account for 96% of the international seed trade. Its influence extends worldwide to seed associations and companies, and it holds official observer status in key intergovernmental and international organizations. This broad reach underscores ISF's role as a central voice in the global seed industry, advocating for the movement of seed, promoting plant breeding and innovation, and addressing sustainability and food security challenges​​.

ISF's activities and initiatives, such as the World Seed Congress, illustrate its popularity and leadership within the industry. The Congress brings together a wide range of stakeholders, including professionals, leaders, breeders, researchers, policymakers, and government officials, to discuss critical issues facing the seed sector. Such events highlight ISF's role in fostering innovation, supporting sustainable agricultural practices, and facilitating international trade regulations and business within the seed industry​​.

Moreover, ISF's collaboration with organizations like the Community Plant Variety Office (CPVO) and its engagement in policy conferences underline its commitment to innovation, intellectual property protection, and addressing societal challenges through plant breeding. These efforts demonstrate ISF's dedication to advancing the seed sector's contributions to agriculture and society at large​​.

In summary, ISF's widespread recognition and its active role in promoting seed industry interests at the international level, along with its commitment to innovation and sustainability, highlight its popularity and impact within the global agricultural community.


The Federation (ISF) has a rich history that traces back to the early 20th century, highlighting its long-standing role in the global seed industry. The federation was officially formed in 2002 through the merger of the International Association of Plant Breeders for the Protection of Plant Varieties (ASSINSEL) and the International Federation of the Seed Trade (FIS), uniting their areas of expertise in plant breeding and seed trading. This merger marked a significant milestone, combining the efforts of two organizations dedicated to the protection of plant varieties and the facilitation of international seed trade.

The origins of the ISF can be traced back to 1924 with the establishment of FIS during the first International Seed Congress in London. This event laid the foundation for international cooperation in the seed industry. Over the decades, the ISF's predecessors were instrumental in developing and implementing rules for international trade in herbage seed, international arbitration procedures, and standards for seed testing. These efforts were aimed at supporting the seed industry's growth and ensuring the quality and reliability of seed trade across borders.

Significant milestones in the ISF's history include the adoption of the first International Rules for Seed Testing by the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) in 1931, the formation of ASSINSEL in 1938 to advocate for the protection of new plant varieties, and the pivotal role of FIS and ASSINSEL in the development of the UPOV Convention, which established an international framework for the protection of plant varieties.

Since its formation, the ISF has continued to represent the interests of the seed industry at a global level, engaging with both public and private institutions to facilitate the international movement of seed. It aims to create the best environment for seed movement and promotes innovation in plant breeding, contributing to sustainable agriculture and food security worldwide. The federation organizes events such as the World Seed Congress, which serve as platforms for stakeholders from around the world to collaborate and address the industry's challenges and opportunities.

The ISF's history reflects its commitment to innovation, collaboration, and the promotion of a regulatory environment that supports the global seed industry's growth and sustainability. Through its activities, the ISF works towards a world where quality seed is accessible to all, supporting the goals of sustainable agriculture and food security.

For more detailed historical milestones and the ISF's impact on the global seed industry, you can explore their official website and resources provided by the Union of International Associations.

Cultural Significance

The ISF plays a pivotal role in the global agricultural landscape, not only through its contributions to the seed industry but also by its cultural significance in fostering global collaboration and innovation in agriculture. The ISF's activities, as highlighted on their official website, are geared towards creating a world where the best quality seed is accessible to all, supporting sustainable agriculture and food security. Their mission encompasses the promotion of plant breeding and innovation in seed, which is crucial for addressing the challenges of food security and sustainability in farming practices worldwide.

The cultural significance of ISF's activities can be observed in its efforts to bring together a diverse range of stakeholders from across the globe, including seed companies, national seed associations, and international organizations. This is evident in their organization of events like the ISF World Seed Congress, which serves as a global platform for stakeholders to engage in dialogue, exchange knowledge, and foster partnerships aimed at advancing the seed industry. Such events not only contribute to the economic and technological aspects of agriculture but also promote a shared cultural understanding of the importance of seeds in sustaining life and livelihoods around the world.

Moreover, the ISF Secretariat, with its multicultural and multilingual team, embodies the federation's commitment to diversity and international cooperation. The team's varied backgrounds and expertise reflect the federation's global outlook and its dedication to addressing the complex issues facing the seed industry through a collaborative and inclusive approach.

Through its representation at international and inter-governmental organizations, including the OECD, UPOV, IPPC, FAO, CBD, and WIPO, ISF underscores the cultural significance of seeds as a foundation for food security, biodiversity, and sustainable development. The federation's engagement in these forums demonstrates its role in shaping global policies and standards that support the movement of seed, protect plant varieties, and encourage innovation within the industry.

In essence, the cultural significance of the International Seed Federation's activities lies in its ability to unite a global community towards a common goal of enhancing agricultural sustainability and food security. Through its advocacy, collaboration, and innovation, ISF contributes to a cultural understanding of the critical role seeds play in addressing global challenges and ensuring the well-being of future generations.

For more detailed insights into ISF's mission, activities, and its impact on the global seed industry, you can visit their official website at