EEP Group

Kelly – Allowing new genomic techniques gives new opportunities for farmers

Published: Thu, 08 February 2024

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Sean Kelly, MEP representing Ireland South, welcomes the recent parliamentary vote supporting new genomic techniques (NGTs) for plants. This is an important step towards embracing innovative solutions in the agri-food sector to address challenges related to food security, climate change, and biodiversity.

Parliament adopted its position for negotiations with member states on the Commission proposal on New Genomic Techniques (NGTs), which alter the genetic material of an organism, with 307 votes to 263 and 41 abstentions.

Expressing his strong support for the proposal, Kelly stated, “Our farmers need the best tools available to support their production and our food security. New Genomic Techniques, or NGTs, have great potential to help us adapt to the most serious challenges facing European agriculture today. However, it is disappointing that several Irish MEPs voted against the proposal, especially as this legislation will help farmers achieve the goals set out in Green Deal. We need to work with farmers if we are to achieve a just transition.”

The European Parliament’s adoption of its position for negotiations with member states on the Commission’s proposal on NGTs marks a significant move toward a more sustainable and resilient food system. The proposal aims to develop improved plant varieties that are climate-resilient, pest-resistant, and offer higher yields while requiring fewer fertilizers and pesticides.

Highlighting the transparency and control requirements of the proposal, Kelly emphasized, “I support the transparency and control requirements of this proposal, which will serve to maintain a high level of protection for both human and animal health while enabling the further development and use of NGT plants and their products.”

Kelly sees this as a significant advancement for farmers, stating, “Ultimately, this proposal gives new opportunities for farmers. Farmers will be able to use technology that their competitors outside of the EU are already using, thus creating a more level playing ground.”

The Fine Gael MEP also highlighted the potential benefits of NGTs, such as enhanced yields and decreased reliance on pesticides, leading to improved farmer incomes and fostering a more sustainable approach to food production.

As the proposal moves forward, Kelly expressed optimism, saying, “I hope member states will soon adopt their position so we can agree the new rules before the European elections and give the farmers the tools they need for the green transition.”

The European Parliament’s endorsement of NGTs opens the door to negotiations with EU member states, and Kelly remains hopeful for a swift and positive outcome.


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