European farmers warned EU policymakers on [April 10] to take immediate action and encourage innovative new plant breeding techniques following the US decision not to regulate them.
“If we don’t act now, we will put ourselves in the hands of a few multinational American companies. EU farmers and their cooperatives will not accept it,” said Thor Gunnar Kofoed from EU farmers association Copa and Cogeca.
According to Kofoed, the EU has the largest number of plant breeders in the world but they are faced with a challenging policy and regulatory framework.
“They need to be encouraged to invest in new breeding technologies instead of being held back,” he insisted.
On 28 March, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a statement regarding the state-of-play of the so-called new plant breeding techniques (NPBTs).
The term NPBTs describes a number of scientific methods that enhance plant traits like drought tolerance and pest resistance through genetic engineering.
The debate revolves around whether these techniques should be classed as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and should, therefore, fall under the strict GMO approval process.
Read full, original post: EU farmers: US overtakes Europe in plant breeding innovation