Farm & Food 4.0
International Congress Berlin
Farm & Food 4.0
Photo: Louis Reed on Unsplash

BioTech

Do we want to do what we can do? Discussion & Roundtable

Our way of producing food must become more sustainable. This can only be achieved with new approaches, as circumstances have never been like this before. A reorientation can only succeed with a whole set of solutions. One possible approach is more precise breeding with genome editing.

Whether this new technology can contribute to greater sustainability in agriculture depends on a number of external factors: For which agricultural practice is it used? What about consumer acceptance? Finally, the question is how it will affect Europe and its place in the world if technology becomes standard in other countries. At the Farm & Food conference in Berlin in January 2020, scientists, startups and farmers met for roundtables and discussions.

Watch the following videos to get an impression of the debates and presentations at the fifth Farm & Food in Berlin:

Dr. Markus Nießen (KWS)

In plant breeding, genome editing does not replace other methods, but rather complements them, says Dr. Markus Nießen (KWS Saat). This video shows his opening presentation.

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Dr. Julia Diekämper (MNH)

As a political place, the Museum of Natural History Berlin also faces current challenges, according to Julia Diekämper. In the debates, for example, on biotech and genetic research, the question always arises as to whom we trust. We have to generate interest in current issues in order to even enter into discussion. The Museum offers the platform to do that.

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Gunter Backes (University of Kassel)

Even if one accepts that Crispr/Cas and other molecular methods differ from classical genetic engineering – the risks are similar, says Gunter Backes, Professor at the University of Kassel. The trend is towards a much more ecological agriculture that is innovative, intelligent and resource-saving. The question is: Do the new breeding technologies really support these goals?

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Gerd Schonder (BG Neuhof)

The markets are changing at a speed we have never experienced before, states farmer Gerd Schonder (BG Neuhof GmbH & Co KG) in his statement at the Farm & Food in Berlin. On 20 January he was part of the panel on BioTech. In addition, weather extremes and increasing competition from Eastern Europe are factors that force us to reposition ourselves.

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The Debate

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Articles on the subject:

Interview with Prof. Dr. Dr. Urs Niggli, FiBL

How do genetic engineering and sustainable agriculture fit together? Prof. Urs Niggli, Director of the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) in Frick and lecturer at ETH Zurich, believes that genetic engineering offers great opportunities: As a society, we have to talk about the potential of genetic engineering for plant breeding as well as its risks.

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Interview with Ruud van den Bulk, Wageningen University

We have to use technologies like CRISPR carefully, says Ruud van den Bulk, Wageningen University, in an interview with Farm and Food 4.0. Companies and institutes are looking to Brussels these days. Researchers and developers expect the next European Parliament to make genetic research and the application of its results somewhat easier.

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