The Polish Grain & Feed Chamber is one U.S. Soy’s most faithful cooperators in the Northeastern Europe sub region. Whenever possible, USSEC supports it with know-how and co-funding of projects. The chamber’s general assembly recently offered such an opportunity, when USSEC provided a speaker on a very timely and important topic, “Plant Breeding Innovations – What The Future May Hold.”
USSEC’s contacts with the European Seed Association (ESA) helped to bring Garlich von Essen, Secretary General, to Warsaw, Poland, to provide his view on the topic. He explained that the new methods are so interesting to plant breeders, farmers, and processors because they can be used across all crop species; they are efficient and precise, which is especially important for crops with rapidly evolving diseases and pests; and they are accessible and relatively inexpensive, which makes them affordable for small companies and niche markets.
“Plant varieties developed through the latest breeding methods,” said Mr. Von Essen, “should not be subject to different or additional regulations if they could also have been produced through earlier breeding methods or by natural processes without human intervention.”
The speaker concluded that the European Union has made no decision or clarification on the legal classification of the new plant breeding innovative methods yet. He explained, however, that the Advocate General (AG) appointed by the European Commission has taken his position and says that although mutagenesis is a technique of genetic modification, the AG sees certain organisms resulting from mutagenesis as being exempted by the definition. He regards process and product as decisive to interpret GMO-definition.
USSEC believes that it was important to provide Polish grain and feed industry leaders with fact-based information on plant breeding innovations, explaining the latest methods used and why plant breeders should be able to add them to their toolbox. Jerzy Kosieradzki, USSEC Technical Director – Northeast Europe, is convinced that U.S. Soy representatives should help to educate the industry leaders in important export markets such as Europe which, in turn, will move closer to encouraging an European regulatory and policy environment that supports plant breeding innovations.