EuropaBio welcomes the Commission’s Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies published as part of the European Green Deal and fully supports the ambitions to preserve biodiversity and accelerate the transition towards a more sustainable food and agricultural system.
Some of the targets set out in the strategies aim to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture, but without additional innovative tools and technologies such as biotechnology and bio-based products, these targets risk making European agriculture less productive. To meet increasing EU food demands, this reduced agricultural production on available agricultural land would have to be compensated by increasing the agricultural area at the expense of (usually much more biodiverse) natural areas, whether within or – more likely – outside the EU.
The Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy rightly points out that “new innovative techniques, including biotechnology and the development of bio-based products, may play a role in increasing sustainability (…) while bringing benefits for society as a whole”. Biotechnology and bio-based industries can help preserve biodiversity and increase agriculture sustainability by e.g. reducing pollution and enhancing sustainable soil management. Innovative solutions and practices have been a contributing factor towards decreasing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions concurrently with increasing productivity.
Agnes Borg, Industrial Biotechnology Director of EuropaBio, commented:
”By embracing innovation and technology and following a solution-oriented and science-based approach, Europe can achieve both reducing its environmental footprint while maintaining – or even improving – agricultural productivity. Biotechnology is a key part of tomorrow’s agricultural and environmental landscape. By ensuring a science-based, proportionate, and predictable regulatory approach to biotechnology innovation, including new genomic techniques, the EU would also contribute to ensuring that the best tools are available to help effectively realize the ambitious Green Deal objectives.”