Expert Panel 16

Climate-proof food systems: the role played by new breeding techniques – globally and in Europe

Grain Club/Verbände der Agrar- und Ernährungswirtschaft

Time: Friday, 22. January 2021, 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. (CET), subsequent deep dive 9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Languages: German, English

The expert panel discussion No 16 of the GFFA 2021 was focused on the role of new plant breeding techniques in adapting food systems to climate change. The discussion showed that new methods are indispensable when securing the global food supply and creating a more sustainable agriculture.

Climate change was named as one of the central challenges facing agriculture, however, new plant breeding techniques can speed up the adaptation of agriculture to changed climatic conditions and the development of more resistant plant varieties. Further, it was highlighted that the consequences of climate change are hitting the countries of the Global South particularly hard, resulting in a special responsibility of favourable regions towards the rest of the world.

The experts also referred to the relevance of international agricultural trade for the security of supply and the balancing of regional bottlenecks. Here, the ECJ ruling of July 2018 was critically questioned: There is no legally reliable detection method for products obtained from genome editing. Continuing the current regulation might lead to the isolation of Europe from international markets.

Conclusion of the expert discussion: The societal debate on genome editing must be open, fact-based and involve most recent scientific findings.


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Christiane Freitag is a communications consultant and moderator as well as Head of Dialogue at the agency Genius. In her projects, she designs and moderates events, workshops and participation processes for public institutions, associations and companies, with citizens of rural or urban communities as well as with political stakeholders. She studied chemistry in Würzburg and Darmstadt and completed training as a PR consultant and in systemic consulting. With more than twenty years of professional experience, she can cover a wide range of topics such as biotechnology, health/medicine or climate protection and energy transition.

Panel guests

Matin Qaim is Professor for International Food Economics and Rural Development at Georg-August-University of Goettingen. Previously, he held positions at the universities of Hohenheim, Bonn, Kiel and Berkeley (USA). His research focuses on sustainable agriculture and food security. He has also worked on these topics in numerous countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He has over 250 publications, mostly in leading international journals. Qaim is a member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and has won various prizes and awards for his work.

Pedro Gallardo Barrena has been manager and CEO of the Carvajal y Agregados C.B. farming business since 1996, a CEREALS & OILSEEDS company which holds nearly 450 hectares. He is a 4th generation farmer and his farm is located in South Andalucía where he lives with his children. A planned future project is a grape vineyard. He has been vice-president of ASAJA Nacional since March 2018, president of the OILSEEDS & PROTEIN CROPS Working Group of COPA-COGECA since March 2019 and president of the PHYTOSANITARY QUESTIONS Working Group of COPA-COGECA since October 2019, among others.

Jörg Migende is Chief Development Officer Agriculture at BayWa AG, an international trading and services group in the business sectors energy, construction and agriculture. He mainly focuses on the future direction of the agricultural input trade and agricultural technology. BayWa’s seed business is also part of his area of responsibility. Mr. Migende studied agricultural sciences and currently holds a teaching position at the Technical University of Munich in the area “innovation management in agribusiness”.

Norbert Lins ist seit 2014 Mitglied des Europäischen Parlaments und gehört dort der Fraktion der Europäischen Volkspartei (EVP) an. Seit 2019 ist er Vorsitzender des Ausschusses für Landwirtschaft und ländliche Entwicklung. Als Landwirtssohn im Landkreis Ravensburg aufgewachsen und bis in der Region verwurzelt, hat er eine große Wertschätzung für die Arbeit der Landwirtinnen und Landwirte. Daneben zählt zu seinen Tätigkeiten im Europäischen Parlament auch die Arbeit im Ausschuss für Umweltfragen, öffentliche Gesundheit und Lebensmittelsicherheit. Außerdem ist er Mitglied der Delegation zu den EFTA-Staaten (Island, Norwegen, Schweiz und Liechtenstein) sowie der Mexiko-Delegation.


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