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Volume 7 Issue 4 Cover

VOLUME 7 ISSUE 4 – Lettuce Go!

The EU Green Deal and its Farm to Fork Strategy have set a number of goals to be reached by 2030, such as a reduction by 50% of the use and risk of chemical pesticides; a reduction by 50% of the use of more hazardous pesticides; a reduction of nutrient losses by at least 50%, while ensuring no deterioration in soil fertility; a reduction of fertilizer use by at least 20%; and 25% of total farmland to be organically farmed. And it is absolutely clear that these very ambitious goals can’t be achieved without the tremendous and ongoing efforts of the plant breeding and seed sector. These sectors will prove to be crucial going forward and achieving those goals. But plant breeding is a long process, and on average it takes six to 15 years to create a new variety. With plant breeding innovation tools, such as CRISPR, we could achieve the same result much faster and with more precision and accuracy. Let’s hope that the Nobel Prize awarded for CRISPR will provide sufficient recognition and awareness to push for a science-based decision process in the EU and speed up the regulatory discussion on the use of this technique and other plant breeding innovations. If we want to make a serious effort at achieving the Farm to Fork goals, we will need CRISPR and other new tools for the EU plant breeders so they can fully explore its great potential to the benefit of us all.

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