Delegation Highlights the Importance of Biotechnology and Innovation

A MAIZALL delegation, led by MAIZALL President Paulo Bertolini, conducted a mission to England during the week of November 29, 2021. The objective of the meetings was to support the UK in moving to a more enabling regulatory and trade environment for biotechnology and to urge the UK government to promptly approve new GM corn events that were already adopted by the European Union earlier this year.

MAIZALL met with officials of the Department of Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), and the Food Standards Agency, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Science and Technology, the National Farmers Union and the Agricultural Industry Associations. Mr. Bertolini also visited a farm in the Cambridge region, as well as the National Institute Agricultural Botany (NIAB), one of the UK's oldest agricultural research organizations.

During the meetings, MAIZALL welcomed the positive statements about the potential of biotechnology, including gene editing and other innovative tools for UK farmers, made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Secretary George Eustice this year. In addition, our representatives highlighted the importance for farmers on both sides of the Atlantic of regular and science-based authorizations of new GM crops for import, processing, and food and feed use. As it happens, the FSA published its first batch of positive 9 GM events (8 corn) on November 30 and MAIZALL welcomed these positive recommendations.

MAIZALL pointed out that in order to meet the double challenge of food security and climate change, farmers should have access to the full range of safe and innovative agricultural production tools, technologies and practices, including biotech seeds. According to Paulo Bertolini, “biotechnology plays a central role in innovation and is one of the main tools necessary to increase production sustainably. New and better products are constantly being developed, and MAIZALL’s farmers are committed to using them as soon as their effectiveness and safety have been confirmed. “ He added that biotechnology helps farmers to increase yield per hectare, reduce the use of plant protection products and conserve the quality and biodiversity of the soil and the environment – all key aspects in sustainable production of food crops. GM crops make it easier to avoid tilling the soil, resulting in fewer field passes and operations with machinery, leading to reductions in fuel use, cost and CO2 emissions.