EU industry calls for innovation in agriculture

Brussels, 9 December 2015 - Leading EU agriculture and food industries today repeated their call for innovation to be considered at every stage of the legislative process. The 7th European Innovation Summit confirmed support for the ‘innovation principle’ to contribute to a sensible and science-based approach to policy making that can guarantee the long-term competitiveness of the EU agricultural sector.

Speaking as Chair of the Agri-Food Chain Coalition (AFCC), Alexander Döring, Secretary General of the European Feed Manufacturers' Federation (FEFAC) said, "Policy makers cannot ignore the EU agri-food sector's need to stay at the forefront of technological innovation, in order to provide solutions for the agricultural and food security challenges ahead. Regulatory measures should encourage investment. We need to bring new products to market, and ensure that there are fewer regulatory hurdles to doing so. We must strive to remain competitive on the global market."

During the debate on ‘Smart Regulation & Innovation for EU Agriculture’ the AFCC and the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) demonstrated the value of innovation to help improve food security, drive resource efficient and sustainable agriculture, as well as transition towards a bio-based economy. At the same time industry representatives pointed to heavy administrative burdens, costly compliance procedures and dysfunctional regulatory systems as the main disincentives for investment in the EU, and therefore obstacles to EU innovation. “As the global population rises, satisfying the demand for healthy food and optimal nutrition is one of the biggest challenges facing the world. Technological innovation is a vital part of the solution. Agricultural technologies, in particular, have the potential to make farming more productive and more sustainable,” said MEP Anthea McIntyre who hosted the event.

“Agricultural and food industry side streams are commonly used as feed or fertilisers. The Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking aims to explore significant opportunities for further valorisation of such resources into new applications and markets through open calls for proposals,” said Philippe Mengal, Executive Director of BBI JU. “The BBI JU will also contribute tools for the realisation of a sustainable circular economy and ensure that biomass is mobilised in a sustainable way to avoid land conflicts with food production,” he added.

Members of the AFCC and BBI JU are convinced that workable regulatory systems and science-based policymaking are the best guarantees for growth, investment, and innovation in the EU agricultural sector, allowing us to have a productive, sustainable, and resilient agricultural base.

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Info:

For further information please contact Alexander Döring, AFCC Chair, tel. +32 2 285 0050, e-mail: fefac@fefac.eu or Claudia Pecoraro, BBI JU representative, e-mail claudia.pecoraro@ec.europa.eu

References:

AFCC Vision: Food for Thought: A vision for unlocking the potential of agriculture and the food industry in the EU

The Agri-Food Chain Coalition (AFCC) is a joint initiative representing 11 leading industry associations across the agri-food chain, united in their call for sustainable, solution-orientated and innovative policies that benefit the EU and beyond. Members represent agricultural input industries such as suppliers of machinery, seeds, fertilizers, crop protection, animal health, feed and biotechnology-based products, the agricultural trade, EU farmers and the European food and drink manufacturing sector. Together, these industries account for about 30 million jobs and 3.5% of the EU's gross value added.

The Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) is a public-private partnership aiming at increasing investment in the development of a sustainable bio-based industry sector. The BBI JU implements a research programme and innovation activities using renewable biological resources for the production of bio-based products and materials. It will play a major role in achieving a bio-economy in Europe.

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