GERMANY'S AGRICULTURE minister has endorsed gene-editing at the International Green Week in Berlin.

Julia Klöckner revealed her hopes for farmers to access genome-editing as a means of innovation in agriculture and the climate opportunities that it could deliver.

The Consumer Choice Centre's senior policy analyst Bill Wirtz welcomed the announcement as positive news for consumers: “Gene-editing technologies such as CRISPR represent an enormous opportunity in the realm of medicine and agriculture. Governments around the globe should take their clues from the German minister, who shows that there remains an openness to scientific innovation in Europe," he urged. "Agro-tech innovation, reducing land and water use while increasing crop yield, is essential in a climate-changing world.

“Gene-editing already offers multiple advantages to plant-breeding," he continued. "For example, by creating allergen-free foods we could create immense change for people affected by potentially life-threatening allergies.”

On July, 25, the European Commission registered the Citizens’ Initiative 'Grow scientific progress: crops matter!' Amongst the initiators are German students. They argue in the description of the initiative that EU Directive 2001/18/EC is outdated, and suggest an automatic mechanism to review it.

The goal is to streamline the now lengthy and costly market authorisation process, and allow for more scientific progress in the EU. Individual evaluations, as opposed to broad definitions, should help to allow new technologies to enter the market.