CropLife SA Genome Editing in Agriculture Webinar Series

International Perspectives and Lessons for Regional Alignment – 25 May 2021

The world of plant biotechnology is rapidly evolving, and these new innovations and technologies are becoming key in assisting farmers to meet the global food demand of a growing population. One of these promising technologies is genome editing, which in some instances differs from genetic modification in that only a small, controlled change is made to the organism’s existing DNA, similar to changes that are introduced through conventional plant breeding. The challenge, however, arises in how these new technologies should be regulated and more importantly, working towards global regulatory harmonisation to ensure that these innovations are not stifled and that policies disproportionate to safety concerns, are not implemented.

For this reason, CropLife South Africa hosted a webinar on 25 May 2021, to provide a platform where stakeholders in South Africa and the region could gain a better understanding of genome editing technology, get insight into best practices regarding policy in various
regions, as well to encourage alignment in policy approaches.

Enabling Opportunities for Agricultural Innovation – 22 June 2021

Genome editing is considered a valuable and complementary addition to modern plant breeding practices. Increased utilisation of these innovative technologies in plant science promises to accelerate improvements in agricultural production in an efficient and sustainable
way, preserving our environment and delivering benefits to both producers and consumers. The challenge, however, is to ensure that regulatory approaches provide clear guidance, are science-based to ensure safety, while simultaneously promoting innovation and utilisation of these technologies.

As a follow up to the previous virtual discussion platform on this topic, CropLife South Africa in collaboration with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service and local SA partners, hosted the final event in its Genome Editing in Agriculture webinar series on 22 June. This event provided a platform for stakeholders in the South African agricultural sector to gain insight into how genome editing impacts innovation and breeding, as well as the economic benefits for agriculture and farmers.