“Gene editing technology has the potential to solve problems for all stakeholders in the food supply chain”said Chia-Kai-Kang, an agricultural input analyst at Rabobank. “You can increase crop productivity without expanding your acreage, reduce food waste, inter alia, reducing harmful substances in food and reducing the use of phytosanitary products”.
The Rabobank report, authored by Chiayi Kang, an agricultural input analyst, and Stephen Nicholson, a global grains and oilseeds strategist, warns that a number of challenges must be overcome to maximize the potential of gene-editing technology. They include “complexity of symptoms of interest, often more variable exposure to complex symptoms, potential long-term exposure or access to technology.” Unlike genetically modified seeds (known as GMOs), which have been on the market for several decades, gene editing is an entirely different new technology.
“Gene editing brings a new technology to the table (CRISPR), which involves editing existing genes in a plant. It solves one of the biggest criticisms of GMOs. The development of gene editing provides an opportunity to hit the reset button and re-evaluate public policy and implement new technologies in the food sector and engage and educate all stakeholders in the food chain.Kang explains.
The report noted that the United States has been at the forefront of gene-editing applications, as has been the case with GM crops. SAccording to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), 169 applications for gene-edited products were filed in the United States between 2011 and 2020. These applications include plants for human consumption, feed, industrial use, and some microorganisms for industry. Some of these apps are expected to be released soon.
“Gene-edited traits could benefit the entire food supply chain, directly impacting farmers and ag input companies, but also the grain and oilseed industries and consumers,” Kang said.