Farming and producing more sustainably is not a scientific problem – it’s a regulatory problem

May 10, 2023

European seed sector


Plant breeding innovation

20 agri-food value chain organisations express their support for the Commission proposal on New Genomic Techniques (NGTs).

The signatories highlight the urgency of the proposal, specifically in view of the urgent challenges ahead, like climate change and sustainability requirements. They support transparency and freedom of choice for farmers and growers via public registers, providing public information on all varieties obtained with NGTs like the national variety lists and the European Common Catalogues. “This allows the proper organisation of value chains that may not wish to use conventional-like NGT plants in their production”, states Garlich von Essen, Secretary General, Euroseeds.

The signatories point to the challenges in view of detection and identification for market control and consumer trust since it is not possible to distinguish how the genetic change in a conventional-like NGT plant occurred.

“Any information on labels on aspects which, per se, do not provide information on distinctive features vis-à-vis their conventional counterparts are of limited value for consumers” points out von Essen.

Imposing traceability and labelling obligations, and coexistence measures that place specific obligations on only EU farmers growing conventional-like NGT varieties would have strong negative implications for the competitiveness of the EU agri-food value chain.

“At the same time, third country farmers, including organic producers under EU equivalence schemes, would actually benefit from unilateral EU obligations on its own agriculture”, concludes von Essen.