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„Plant breeding is an agricultural success story“

Interview with Christopher Sieler: The potential of new breeding techniques from the perspective of the agricultural industry

In July 2023, the European Commission is expected to present a revised directive on genetically modified plants. The new breeding techniques have so far been classified as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by the ECJ's 2018 ruling and regulated accordingly. In this interview, Christopher Sieler, Head of Government & Public Affairs Germany for Syngenta, explains the potential of the new breeding techniques and shows why new business areas are also opening up for small and medium-sized companies.

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In July 2023, the European Commission is expected to present a revised directive for genetically modified plants. The new breeding techniques have so far been classified as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling and regulated accordingly. Christopher Sieler, Head of Government & Public Affairs Germany for Syngenta, explains that the European legal framework is more than 20 years old and that biotechnology has undergone rapid development during this time. He therefore calls for a sustainable and science-based legal framework for plants developed in the European Union using genome editing.

Christopher Sieler explains that many countries have already adapted their legal frameworks and that he consequently expects politicians and authorities to keep adapting legal regulations and laws to research developments while creating an attractive location for innovation and research. Furthermore, it is important that Europe does not create additional legal hurdles that could restrict international agricultural trade.

New breeding techniques make it possible to breed resistant plants faster and more cost-effectively and can help to achieve the goals of the Green Deal. Christopher Sieler also emphasises that a new legal framework would not only benefit global corporations, but also small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups. However, it is crucial that access to genetic material and its use in breeding programmes is guaranteed.

The entire interview with Christopher Sieler: „‘Plant breeding is an agricultural success story ‘ – The potential of new breeding techniques from the perspective of the agricultural industry“ can be read here as PDF.

The publication is only available in German.

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