EC urged to give farmers access to “genetic enhancement tools”

European farmers need to be given access to all available technological advancements, including livestock genetic enhancement, says Copa-Cogeca, who represent farmers and farm cooperatives in Europe.

The organisation has backed its pro-technology stance by writing to the European Commission, urging it to “speed up” the decision-making process concerning the clearance for commercial use of new breeding techniques (NBTs) for both livestock developments and the creation of new plant varieties.

“NBTs are very important tools to support innovation in relation to plant breeding and livestock genetic enhancement and European farmers and their cooperatives need access to these technological advancements in order to meet the upcoming challenges and to remain competitive,” said Copa-Cogeca’s secretary-general, Pekka Pesonen.

“For investments to be made and for NBTs to be developed further, however, breeders need legal certainty and a well-functioning EU single market.”

Calling for NBTs to be analysed and discussed by experts on a case-by-case basis and according to scientific criteria, Mr Pesonen accused the EC of continuing to delay its communication on the legal status of NBTs, prompting his organisation to write to the commissioner for health and food safety Vytenis Andriukaitis.

“We want him to accelerate the process and clarify the legal status of NBTs to ensure we have an innovative agriculture sector in the future capable of meeting growing demand,” said Mr Pesonen.

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