July 7, 2014–Earlier last month MAIZALL, the international maize alliance, brought its message regarding the importance of biotechnology for producers in the Americas to both private sector and governmental stakeholders in Europe. The MAIZALL team also stressed the need for a predictable, science-based regulatory regime in the EU.
“Producers in Argentina, Brazil and the United States have long recognized that they will need continued access to the growing pipeline of new biotechnology traits to meet future global food security requirements. They understand this will require a streamlined global approval process, including greater synchronicity of event approvals,” stated MAIZALL President Julius Schaaf.
In meetings with farmers, members of the livestock and feed manufacturing industries in Portugal and Spain, alliance members found eager allies. Portugal and Spain are ahead of the EU curve, since they are among the few countries in the EU that allow cultivation of at least some biotech corn. Corn growers in both countries are enthusiastic for greater access to technology and downstream users want greater access to competitively-priced world markets.
“Spain and Portugal as well as other EU countries continue to rely on imports of corn from all three MAIZALL member countries. Livestock and feed producers in both countries encouraged the MAIZALL team to advocate with the European Commission and Member States for synchronous approvals and access to more biotechnology traits,” stated MAIZALL 1st Vice President, Sergio Bortolozzo. “EU agricultural groups have pledged to collaborate and work cooperatively with MAIZALL in securing a more synchronous biotech approval process.”
MAIZALL’s discussions continued with officials of the Portuguese and Spanish Ministries of Agriculture as well as with the agricultural attachés of the Argentine, Brazilian, and U.S. Embassies in each country. In addition, MAIZALL met with other members of the corn value chain, including agricultural biotechnology organizations.
In Brussels, the MAIZALL team met with several EU member country delegations, the Agriculture, Trade, and SANCO (Health and Consumer Protection) Commission departments, MAIZALL country embassies as well as farm organization, COPA-COGECA, and the EU Food & Feed Chain Coalition (FFC).
In a demonstration of support to the European farmer, feed and livestock sectors, MAIZALL has sent a letter to the EU SANCO Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection requesting the Commission address the undue delays in the EU’s own authorization system so that trade between our countries and our European customers can flow without unnecessary interruption or increased cost for European farmers and consumers.
“Cooperation and collaboration between the maize exporting countries of the Americas with our EU partners is critical if we are to meet our mutual objective of securing synchronous biotechnology processes in the EU as well as globally, stated MAIZALL 2nd Vice President Alberto Morelli. “MAIZALL will continue to work together to communicate the benefits of biotechnology.”