EPSO welcomes the EC’s ‘Orientation paper’ and looks forward to actions across clusters and pillars to better address the Sustainable Development Goals and the EU Green Deal including the farm to fork and the biodiversity strategies. To this end, EPSO makes the following key recommendations to policy makers at European and national level:

 1-Combine genetic, chemical, ecological and agronomic strategies for smart, diverse agriculture that benefits the environment and increases Food and Nutritional Security as well as Human Health

  • Encourage contributions from plant scientists to help boost the water- and nutrient-use efficiency of agricultural crops and to improve resource stewardship for resilient and environmentally sustainable production in agriculture, horticulture and forestry
  • Encourage contributions from plant scientists to improve plant / crop health for resilient and environmentally sustainable production, thereby supporting the one health concept in agriculture, horticulture and forestry
  • Encourage contributions from (plant) scientists to not only help decrease the environmental footprint, but also improve Food and Nutritional Security for human health and wellbeing.
  • Develop a food label acknowledging lower environmental footprint without reducing yield and quality
  • Engage more stakeholders in research projects through a consultative process from the start

 2-Support new technologies and adhere to international agreements by improving the legislation and supporting flagship projects utilising New Breeding Technologies

 3-Ensure continued open access to Digital Sequence Information (DSI) – DSI must NOT be included under the Nagoya protocol, as this would prevent open access

 4-Close the research and innovation cycle in pillar 2 of the Horizon Europe 2021-27 programme 

5-Implement underlying concepts to address global challenges and EU priorities:

  • 1001 Crops – Diverse crops for diverse diets, human health and resilient production.
  • Encourage and combine crop improvement, crop management and crop processing
  • Combine all available approached

 These recommendations are relevant to the strategy for future Work Programmes as well as for Partnerships and Missions in Horizon Europe, particularly the partnerships ‘Accelerating farming systems transitions: agro-ecology living labs and research infrastructure’, ‘Rescuing biodiversity to safeguard life on earth’, Safe and sustainable Food System for People, Planet and Climate’ and ‘Circular bio-based Europe: Sustainable, inclusive and circular bio-based solutions’, and the mission area for ‘Soil and Food’.

Click here to read the full statement.

Contacts (see full statement): Karin Metzlaff, European Plant Science Organisation, EPSO; Alan Schulman, LUKE, FI & EPSO President; Ernst van den Ende, WUR, NL & EPSO Board