The Agro-science Manifesto promoted by the Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, ALAS, was presented at a conference about "The role of science in the sustainability of agriculture." The manifesto argues that only decision-making that recognizes the innovative role of agriculture and is based on science will allow maintaining the competitiveness, employment, production, and modernization of the sector, betting on a fair transition that allows combating depopulation in rural areas.
The Director-General of Agricultural Productions and Markets of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food, Esperanza Orellana, stressed that agro-science is an essential element for the transition towards a more sustainable agri-food model. "Genetic editing techniques allow reducing food waste, improving health through food, having better crop behavior in the face of pests, and better adaptation to the climate challenges faced by agriculture. The advantage of this biotechnology is that it allows us to produce more with less," she added.
Esther Esteban, director of the National Institute of Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA), an entity under the Ministry of Science and Innovation, said that only science and innovation would let us advance towards a better future. "We need to obtain resilient varieties using all the tools that science offers us, from traditional breeding techniques to new breeding and genetic editing techniques," he said.
ALAS is composed of the National and General Agrarian Professional Organizations ASAJA, UPA and COAG, Agricultural Food Cooperatives of Spain, the Spanish Federation of Producers and Exporters of Fruits, Vegetables, Flowers and Live Plants (FEPEX), and the Spanish Association of Conservation Agriculture/Live Soils (AEAC.SV). The manifesto is also supported by 32 entities, from all areas of the agri-food sector, from agricultural and livestock producers, to the processing, distribution, supply, and service industries for the sector, among others.
The Manifesto for Agro-science launches seven concrete proposals, aimed at public administrations, economic and social agents, and society in general, such as enhancing the role of the agricultural sector as a carbon sink; considering agriculture and livestock in Spain as a European laboratory for climate change; making the objective of reducing the use of plant protection products by 50% more flexible; having European authorities establish a regulatory framework based on scientific criteria that allow farmers to use the varieties best adapted to plant health challenges, competing on an equal footing, valuing recent advances in genetic editing techniques, and highlighting the role that technology and digitization play throughout the agri-food value chain.