Comments on: ‘New GMOs’ are not progress, but another tool of industrial farming EU news and policy debates across languages Mon, 19 Nov 2018 16:35:59 +0000 hourly 1 By: Seppi Tue, 26 Jun 2018 07:22:36 +0000 We should commend José Bové, Martin Häusling, Maria Heubuch, Bart Staes and Thomas Waitz for their opinion article. At least, things are clear, should they have spoken for the entire Greens group. Rarely have we seen such a collection of – let’s be socially correct – misconceptions.

Well, let’s add that the Earth is flat, that the Sun rotates around the Earth…

There is, however, one piece of truth in this opinion : « We can’t solve our problems with the same kind of thinking that created these problems ». We can’t indeed solve our problems caused by the Greens’ (and others’) opposition to scientific and technical developments with the same, stubborn thinking that opposes scientific and technical developments. Even « new digital, drone-monitored farming technologies » are unwelcome to the authors.

By: ESA - European Seed Association Mon, 25 Jun 2018 08:33:55 +0000 It is inexplicable why some stakeholders disregard scientific evidence and regard the latest plant breeding methods as a cause of problems in our food and farming system, when they offer such promising potential solutions. These methods can make the development of varieties that are more resilient to climate change and better tailored to the diverse needs of farmers and consumers much more efficient. The latest breeding methods like genome editing can help to make plants with very complex genomes like wheat or potato more efficiently resistant against pests and pathogens like certain fungi. This will reduce the use of plant protection chemicals. Also, quality traits like a healthier oil composition in crops like Camelina or Canola can be much more efficiently addressed with those methods. First field trials are being conducted in the UK.

The post-2020 CAP will require farmers to do more with less, meeting multiple objectives beyond food security such as providing environmental goods and focusing on nutrition – all within a fast-approaching timeframe. The latest plant breeding methods like genome editing can not only help to more efficiently develop plant varieties that have a reduced need for inputs, and deliver a wide range of diverse and healthy food, but they can also reduce the time it takes to deliver these varieties. One of Commissioner Hogan’s calls to action for the future CAP was to take innovation from the labs to the fields; the latest methods in plant breeding represent exactly this sort of innovation, and fit perfectly with the objectives of the future CAP.

With an increased understanding of plant biology and plant genetics, plant breeders have improved their breeding tools and can now be much more efficient in adapting plants to the needs of agriculture. These methods simply imitate natural processes and the plants resulting from these methods should therefore not be regulated, from a legal point of view, as GMOs.

These methods will not re-enforce corporate power, on the contrary, they represent low-cost and accessible technologies which can be used by small and medium enterprises, allowing them to remain competitive and innovative.

There is no scientific knowledge of any concrete risks for public health or the environment which are connected to these methods, it is therefore unacceptable and irresponsible that anti-science stakeholders try to prevent the use of plant breeding innovations for a more sustainable and competitive EU agriculture.