New plant breeding techniques (NBTs) – modern biotechnology methods used to improve crops – may become the next big thing for the seed industry. Seed breeders see huge market potential in them, with their ability to bring new characteristics to crops such as enhanced nutritional value and better resilience to climate extremes. But the seed industry seems somewhat, if understandably, hesitant to make the investment in the face of regulatory uncertainty around the new technology. The European Commission is tasked with categorising NBTs, but how it will do so is still unclear.
As we argue in our latest snapshot, the industry and regulators need to engage in an open, transparent and collaborative dialogue in order to answer any questions about new breeding techniques and help realise the important potential this developing area could have for the European economy.