Ensuring the sustainability of agriculture under climate change has led to a surge in alternative strategies for crop improvement. Advances in integrated crop breeding, social acceptance, and farm-level adoption are crucial to address future challenges to food security. Societal acceptance can be slow when consumers do not see the need for innovation or immediate benefits. We consider how best to address the issue of social licence and harmonised governance for novel gene technologies in plant breeding. In addition, we highlight optimised breeding strategies that will enable long-term genetic gains to be achieved. Promoted by harmonised global policy change, innovative plant breeding can realise high and sustainable productivity together with enhanced nutritional traits.

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