Crop Production and Trade

Plant breeding innovation

Innovation in plant breeding can allow for faster and more precise results, with significant potential to help overcome crop production challenges and enlarge the portfolio of products available and traded worldwide. 

Several of the latest approaches to plant breeding deploy biotechnology. The differences compared to the earlier transgenic approaches lie in the applied methodology and the changes achieved in the genome of the crops.

The fact that different legislations are regulating the latest plant breeding tools in different ways is causing legal uncertainty. New plant varieties derived from one technique may be exempt from regulation in one country, whereas they need to be regulated in another country. This legislative uncertainty is of great concern to plant breeders, biotechnology companies and the overall grain trade.

IGTC will seek alliances with other partners on this subject to deploy a strategy that would enhance a smooth and science-based approach to the regulation of the latest breeding methods, causing the lowest amount of disruption to the grain trade.

Maximum Resudue Limits (MRLs) of Crop Protection Products

Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) for crop protection products are a growing cause of trade disruption for grains, oilseeds and agri-bulks. Barriers created by inconsistent, unjustified and unevenly applied MRLs create risk and can have negative consequences for farmers, exporters, importers and consumers. There has been increasing demand for a global collaborative effort to tackle this issue and create an environment that is more supportive of trade. Grain trade experts have shared their experiences via the IGTC’s 2017-18 international survey on MRLs, and are seeking to use the IGTC’s unique position as a global association to deliver actions that avoid disruptions to trade in the short and long term.

Click here for the IGTC's policy document on MRLs.

GLI - Global Low Level Presence Initiative

Low level presence (LLP) refers to the low levels of recombinant DNA plant materials that have passed a food safety assessment according to the Codex Guideline for the Conduct of Food Safety Assessment of Foods Derived from Recombinant-DNA Plants (CAC/GL 45-2003) in one or more countries, but may on occasion be present in food in importing countries in which the food safety of the relevant recombinant-DNA plants has not been determined.

Issues arise due to shared supply chains and the potential for trace amounts of a GM event to be mixed in with other commodities be they a conventionally or GM bred commodity / variety.

The IGTC is working with the government led Global Low Level Presence Initiative (GLI) on this important matter. The GLI was initiated by Canada and now has representation from 14 major grain exporting and importing countries/regions and 4 observer countries and regions.

Moving off of zero tolerance for safety-assessed GM crops is critical to developing predictable trade. 

CBD – BSP- Convention of Biodiversity - Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB) is a Protocol of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and was the imperative leading to the formation of IGTC. Commencing development in 2000, the Protocol relates to the transboundary movement in Living Modified Organisms, read GM grain. The Parties to the Protocol meet every two years with the next Meeting of the Parties (CoP-15 and CoP-MoP 10) scheduled to be held in China in 2021.

IGTC has advocated strongly at all MOP’s to ensure that the Protocol would not inhibit trade.