TALLINN – On Tuesday, a meeting took place in Tallinn between Stella Kyriakides, European Union commissioner for health and food safety, and Urmas Kruuse, minister of rural affairs of Estonia, the main topic of which was the sustainable use of plant protection products.
Kyriakides stressed that it is of the utmost importance for the EU to speed up the transition to more sustainable food systems.
"We need to find new solutions to reduce the use of plant protection products, such as using low-risk and biological substances," Kyriakides said according to a press release published by the Estonian Ministry of Rural Affairs.
The Estonian minister said that when setting goals of the member states, their current situation and the progress made to date must be taken into account.
"The use of plant protection products in Estonia is significantly lower than the EU average, and it is very difficult to reduce it further from the current level in Estonia," Kruuse said, explaining the need for a derogation.
Kyriakides said that the European Union listens carefully to member states' concerns and proposals and is ready to find workable solutions. On the subject of improved plant varieties, the commissioner said that the EU is considering ways to develop a framework to help exploit the potential of plants bred by means of new genomic technologies in agriculture to support sustainability and resilience, food security and adaptation to climate change, while ensuring consumer safety.
The secretary general of the Ministry of Rural Affairs, Marko Gorban, said that varieties created with the help of new genomic techniques contribute to environmental protection by reducing the need for plant protection products and fertilizers.
"Given scientific opinions, plants bred with new breeding techniques will help solve many of the problems associated with climate change, environmental protection and food security," Gorban explained. The secretary general of the Ministry of Rural Affairs is of the opinion that plants bred using new breeding technologies should be subject to the same legislation as those that are results of conventional breeding.
Other topics discussed at the meeting included common food labeling in the European Union and African swine fever.