Minister of Rural Affairs of Estonia Tarmo Tamm will take part of the high-level conference: “Modern Biotechnologies in Agriculture – Paving the way for responsible innovation,” held today, on 28 September. In his opening speech, the Minister stressed the need for innovative solutions and called for an open and active discussion on how a more effective use of biotechnologies in the food and agricultural sector would be beneficial for the whole of society.
According to the Minister of Rural Affairs, societies need more knowledge-based solutions to produce a sufficient amount of high-quality food and biomass, while adapting to climate change, decreasing environmental impact, and avoiding the use of new agricultural lands at the expense of natural areas.
“For example, new plant breeding techniques would allow for plants to have a higher resistance to diseases; increase their stress tolerance or nutrient levels, thereby reducing the strain on the environment; improve resource efficiency; and improve the supply of food and biomass,” Minister Tamm said.
“All the representatives of the sector are welcome to consider and clearly express their viewpoints on how we should direct the use of biotechnologies in the food and agricultural sector, while ensuring the high standards in health and environmental safety,” the Minister of Rural Affairs concluded with in his speech.
As a result of the recent rapid scientific developments, several new breeding techniques have been developed. The use of these new technologies will allow for quicker and more precise results in breeding compared to the more traditional methods. Therefore, there is a huge interest for the development and implementation of these technologies. However, it is not yet clear under which legal framework these new technologies will be regulated from.
The key topics of the conference are the development of new breeding techniques in agriculture, the implementation of risk assessment requirements, and scientific development.
The aim of the conference is to find a common approach to dealing with these new breeding techniques and the use of their products within the European Union and to guarantee a safe use of modern biotechnologies in the near future. The conference is organised by the European Commission.