Seed World

Euractiv Panel Discussion Insights: NGT Proposal

The European Commission’s recent proposal for “NGT-derived plants for bolstering the EU’s Farm to Fork and Biodiversity strategies” has sparked conversations according to a release. Panelists that represent the European Commission and EU stakeholders from the science and agricultural sectors, like Euroseeds Secretary General Garlich von Essen, shared their perspectives during a Euractiv panel discussion.

Conversation around the new proposal on new genomic techniques (NGTs) has included scientists, plant breeders, farmers, EU politicians, regulators and third country representatives.

The European Commission’s proposal established a difference between categories one and two of NGT- derived plants by using a science-based verification process. Category two includes plants that would fall under the GMO regulatory framework.

During EURACTIV’s “New Genomic Techniques – What Lies Ahead?”, the scientific and farming community were able to share perspectives and their alignment on the topic of innovation and how NGT’s could benefit European farmers and consumers.

The panelists included Klaus Berend, Acting Director at DG SANTE, European Commission, Garlich von Essen, Secretary General of Euroseeds, Thor Gunnar Kofoed, Chair of the Seed Working Group at Copa-Cogeca and Dr Sheila Ochugboju, Director of Alliance for Science. They discussed the potential that NGTs offer and how NGTs can help to achieve the EU’s Green Deal policy objectives “with better varieties, more resistant to pest and diseases, balancing crop protection use and bringing a substantial economic return for the farmers.”

“There is a broad scientific consensus that these technologies have a huge potential to help with the transition towards more sustainable agriculture; there is also consensus that the resulting nature-like products do not pose any specific risks to environment and consumers,” said von Essen. “That is why more and more countries adopt a similar regulatory approach and treat them conventional plant varieties.”

“The time is now,” said Thor Kofoed. All panelists agreed regarding the importance of Parliament and Council having their conversations as quickly as possible.

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