CFIA unveils new guidelines for plant breeding innovation
May 3, 2023 By Top Crop Manager
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has released its updated guidance on plant breeding innovation, marking the conclusion of a consultation process that began in 2021. This move has been welcomed by Canadian grain farmers, who believe innovative plant breeding techniques such as gene editing are essential to ensuring a sustainable future for agriculture.
“The CFIA’s updated guidance on plant breeding innovation is a step in the right direction,” says Andre Harpe, chair of Grain Growers of Canada. “It will help us keep pace with global competitors who have already embraced science-based policies to improve crop yields and quality. This is especially important as we face new challenges posed by climate change and other environmental pressures.”
Alongside the CFIA’s updated guidance, Canadian seed and grain organizations have moved forward with best-in-class transparency tools, ensuring Canadian farmers can verify if their seed was developed using gene editing and provide this information along the value chain as needed. This is critical to maintaining market choice in the Canadian grain sector and ensuring consumers can access the highest quality products.
Farmers across Canada have been eagerly awaiting this news, as gene editing offers the potential to produce crops that are more resilient to pests and disease and require less water and fertilizer. These benefits will help Canadian farmers increase their productivity while reducing their environmental footprint.
“The government plays a vital role in enabling innovation and ensuring that farmers have access to the best plant varieties and crop inputs,” says William Van Tassel, vice-chair of GGC and chair of the sustainability committee. “Access to innovation and market options are vital to meet our long-term sustainability needs and goals. We urge the government to continue to defend these tools as safe and essential to achieving emission reduction and sustainability goals.”