Biotech Updates

Italian Lawmakers Support GM Crops to Fight Climate Change

July 13, 2022
“New agricultural biotechnology can provide experimentation for more drought- and pest-resistant plants,” said Italian MEP Antonio Tajani. © European Union 2022

During a Plenary Session at the European Union Parliament on July 7, 2022, Italian MEPs expressed their support for the use of genetic modification techniques in agriculture for more resilient crop varieties in light of the heat waves and droughts that are currently affecting Italy and other parts of Europe.

The plea was made during an exchange with Commission Vice-President Šefčovič on the recent heat wave and drought in the EU, and what measures can be taken to remedy the situation and prepare for future crises. Italian MEP Antonio Tajani said the EU will have to be able to address the issue with measures beyond emergency measures and asked the Commission for a long-term plan that guarantees water for citizens and farming. Tajani, a former EU Commissioner also asked that the use of new plant breeding techniques be liberalized by "untying them from GMO rules."

“New agricultural biotechnology can provide experimentation for more drought- and pest-resistant plants,” Tajani pleaded, saying these techniques should be dissociated from the EU's 1999 GMO Directive. As droughts and intense heat become the new normal in southern Europe, Italy has declared a state of emergency. Genetically modified crops and new breeding techniques are seen in Italy as a possible solution to the challenges posed by climate change. Italy's Minister for Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, Stefano Patuanelli, recently called for lifting the ban on the use of GMOs for animal feed after the country's food sector was hit by shortages caused by the war in Ukraine.

For more details, read the article in Euractiv.

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