Improve the link between Science, innovation, agriculture and food
Today, the agri-food sectors are more than ever confronted with 3 major demands from our society:
- To provide safe and quality foodnot only to European citizens but as well to world markets,
- To keep rural areas lively and viable. This means, first and foremost to maintain and develop a profitable farming activity in all rural areas across the EU.
- To optimize the good management of the environmentand to fight more effectively against climate change and risks linked to wider and wider spread diseases.
Being able to answer jointly to these three challenges is for sure a challenge itself, but a feasible one, if we accept to make effective use of science and concentrate our efforts on double performance: economic performance and environmental performance.
This is the very basic condition of any success of the EU and the EU agriculture to ensure both growth and jobs and better environment.
For more than a decade, the global productivity growth of the EU farming sector has halved. During this decade, the capital productivity of this sector has become negative. According to the EU Commission, this trend would result in a new decrease by 14% of the EU agri incomes in the next 10 years.
It is time now to reinvest in innovation and research, to reinvest in genetics and develop a concrete science-based approach in that respect.
In this framework, objectivity and transparency will be key.
To reach this objective, we need to change our attitude, to live in our time and consider what science tells us, and not what some say that science could tell.
This is true when it comes to precision and smart farming and how policies (and notably the CAP) can incentivize the move of the EU agriculture to a modern, a more eco-environmentally efficient agriculture.
This is true as well when it comes to genetics. New breeding techniquesare promising as modern and faster extension of usual traditional breeding techniques delivering both in environment, nutrition and economy.
These New Plant-Breeding Techniques, which have emerged as the result of advances in scientific research, enable more precise and faster changes in the plant’s genome than conventional plant breeding techniques, which use chemical and radiation processes to alter the genetic characteristics of plants.
New Plant Breeding Techniques are currently in an uncertain situation regarding their legal classification, as there is urgent to decide on how these practices should be regulated and whether they (or some of them) should or shouldn’t fall within the scope of the EU GMO legislation.
As it is scientifically demonstrated that NBTs such as CRISPR-Cas9 are not GMOs, the new EP should strive to ensure its classification as a non-GMO technique.