A public consultation on the European Commission’s proposals to loosen the rules on allowing farmers to plant seeds from varieties developed through the use of new genomic techniques (NGTs) has opened.

The proposals could allow plant breeders to speed up the development of new varieties and to better integrate traits, such as disease resistance, drought tolerance and nutrient efficiency, needed to reach EU environmental targets.

Farmers and the public can submit their views on the proposals over a three-week period up to 25 September.

“It is important that we engage with stakeholders and the public and to hear their views on this important issue and I welcome the wide consultation already undertaken by the Commission in the preparation of this proposal,” said Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue.

'Wide range of tools'

“It is clear that we need a wide range of tools and to deploy them effectively if we are to achieve increased environmental ambition and develop sustainable food systems.

“However, we must also assess how each possible tool can best be used to help us meet the challenges of food security, climate change and biodiversity.”

Submissions should be sent by email to ngtconsultation@agriculture.gov.ie with 'NGT Proposal' in the subject line.

They should include a summary no longer than 300 words setting out its main points and any submissions made by groups should include a brief note on its background, membership and aims.

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