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Crop Biotech Update

Canadian Grain Farmers Back Gene Edited Crops

June 9, 2021

The Grain Growers of Canada (GGC) expressed its support for the advancement of plant breeding, particularly in gene-edited crops. Their latest statement highlighted the role of modern plant technology in driving the safe and sustainable growth of Canada's agriculture sector.

Their statement came after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced the 120-day public consultation on May 2021 regarding the guidance to determine whether a plant is subject to the Seeds Regulation part V, which sets out the regulatory requirements for both the confined and unconfined environmental release of seed. The GGC statement also tackles the consultation launched by Health Canada in March 2021 about the new regulatory guidance for novel food focused on plant breeding.  While the consultations send a strong signal in the safety and importance of plant breeding innovations, the GGC expressed that there are still some parts of the documents that need to be clarified to make sure that the Canadian farmers will be at par with their global competitors in accessing these new varieties. The Council considers both consultations vital as these will have a significant impact on crop varieties that will be made available to Canadian farmers for the next years to come, thus they are encouraging the entire Canadian grain industry to take part in these consultations.

GGC considers modern plant technology like gene-edited crops crucial because these new varieties can help farmers adapt to changing climate conditions and pest pressures while still growing safe, high quality, and affordable food for consumers despite the pressure to feed a rapidly expanding global population while meeting climate change goals and contributing to the Canadian economy. GGC also emphasized that these new varieties help farmers grow more using fewer resources and sustaining arable land in the country. They stated that new crop varieties are the backbone of Canada's agriculture industry and that it is the agriculture industry that is the driving force in Canada's economic recovery past the COVID-19 pandemic.

The full statement is made available to the public by the Grain Growers of Canada.

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