Bayer has said it is engaging ‘very actively’ for gene editing (GE) regulations to change in Europe.
Speaking during the Bayer Future of Farming online conference, Liam Condon, president of crop science at Bayer said: “[We are] promoting very strongly that regulations should catch up with technology and allow this technology to be used, [not only] for the benefit of Europeans, but also for the benefit of others all over the world who look to Europe for regulations.”
Describing gene editing and CRISPR technology as an ‘amazing breakthrough’ that would allow agriculture to be more sustainable, he said the main issue was Europe’s regulatory process which approaches newer GE technology in the same way as ’old’ transgenic GMOs.
This meant it would not be possible to develop crops suited to Europe because it would be too expensive to carry out all the trials that are required here.
Mr Condon said there was a broad alliance of breeding companies, small and large forming to campaign for this generation of technology not to be missed.
“We have missed the transgenic [GM] generation in Europe, we cannot miss this generation of technology.
“A lot of countries are really challenged from a drought and flood point of view if you look towards Africa and Asia. If Europe continues to make life very difficult for GE, that means that technology will probably also not evolve in Africa where they really need it. There is a bigger societal debate required.”