NGTs and organic farming: how to support the farmers’ choices? – a co-organised webinar by ASTA and Euroseeds

November 27, 2023

European seed sector


Plant breeding innovation

As part of our advocacy and communication efforts in raising awareness about the benefits of new genomic techniques (NGTs), the Euroseeds team arranged an online webinar in collaboration with ASTA, the American Seed Trade Association. Hosted by MEP Erik Poulsen, with the participation of several panellists representing the farming sector, academia, and the European Commission, the event provided an analysis of the European Commission’s proposal on NGTs, which has ignited discussions among several actors involved in the agri-food business, particularly regarding their synergy with organic farming practices. With an attendance of more than 120 people, the event also aimed at highlighting science-based information related to the safety and transparency related to NGTs and their use as well as fostering an open and fruitful dialogue with the farming community. Among the key messages raised during the event:

MEP Erik Poulsen, Member of the European Parliament:

Stressed the importance of a science based conversation on NGTs and to not mix NGTs with GMOs. NGTs can provide additional options to farmers.

Bart Kuin, Bejo & Chair of the Euroseeds Working Group Organics:

More than 90% of the organic seeds are provided by companies who also breed for conventional farming. Both farming systems benefit from the same breeding programs, they use the same genetics. Freedom of choice can be provided by the common variety catalogue. If there is a market for varieties resulting from specific breeding methods breeding companies will serve such a market.

Teodoro Cardi, Senior Researcher, National Research Council Institute for Biosciences and Bioresources:

NGTs are about efficiency and precision. They can provide beneficial solutions to farmers more quickly and should therefor also be relevant to organic farmers. The sustainability goal is common to all farming systems, organic as well as conventional.

Thor Koefoed, Vice President, Danish Agrigulture & Food Council, Chair of COPA-COGECA Working Party on Seed:

We need NGT labelling in the variety list. This is where farmers make their choice!