Euroseeds welcomes the Commission’s ambition on green biotechnology with proposed actions for a more resilient European agri-food sector

March 26, 2024

European seed sector


Plant breeding innovation

Euroseeds acknowledges the comprehensive European Commission biotechnology strategy, which aims at boosting food security and sustainability across the EU. Unveiled just last week, the initiative describes targeted actions with the aim to reduce EU external dependencies and to improve environmental and health impacts, highlighting the potential of biotechnology innovations could have in making the agri-food sector more sustainable and competitive.

One of the key elements of the strategy outlined by the Commision is the streamlining of regulatory pathways, including permitting and authorization, which are crucial for unlocking the potential of biotechnology in agriculture and food production. Central to this effort, the Commission recognizes the adoption of a new Regulation on plants produced by certain new genomic techniques as a key action.

“We very much welcome the EC biotechnology strategy and highly appreciate the positive recognition on the need of an NGTs Regulation, which would allow plant breeders and farmers to eventually have access to innovation, and modernized rules which will help to fulfil the potential of the latest plant breeding methods”, pointed out Garlich von Essen, Euroseeds Secretary General.

In order to advance market access and foster innovation, the EC has committed to several actions, including the simplification of regulatory frameworks and the establishment of an EU Biotech Hub, to support companies in navigating regulations and scaling up operations. Furthermore, the EC mentioned that the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and generative AI in biotech and biomanufacturing processes will be prioritized, including the efforts to facilitate AI tools access to computing resources for start-ups and innovators.

Von Essen continued by highlighting the benefits of biotechnology for the agri-food sector:

“Biotechnology can help reduce the EU’s external dependencies including in the agri-food sector. It can also contribute to a better protection of health and the environment by, for example, reducing crop and food losses and enabling a more efficient and reduced use of natural resources and input materials (chemical synthetic pesticides or mineral fertilisers). Furthermore, it also allows for feed and foodstuffs with improved environmental and health traits (e.g., with reduced saturated fats or allergens or with increased disease fighting nutrients). Innovation in biotechnology can be an important building block in the efforts to reduce the overall environmental footprint of agri-food production systems making them more resilient and supportive to reach the EU’s climate neutrality goal and to provide more sustainable and some healthier foodstuffs”.

Recognizing the importance of private investments in driving advancements in biotechnology, the EC also aims to identify possible barriers and promote the consolidation of investment funds, while advocating for the inclusion of biotechnology in the European Innovation Council accelerator program.

Looking ahead, the EC plans to review the EU Bioeconomy Strategy to align with current and future challenges, while reinforcing the industrial dimension of the bioeconomy, fostering  innovation, sustainability, and resilience in the EU’s agri-food sector.

 The advances in life sciences and the potential of solutions based on biology to solve societal issues, make biotechnology and biomanufacturing one of the most promising technological areas of this century. They can help the EU to modernise its agriculture, forestry, energy, food and feed sectors and industry. We are very much looking forward how the Commission is going to proceed with its strategy and proposed actions maximizing the capabilities and impact of biotechnology to the benefit of society and the environment.