19 January 2020
BRUSSELS, Belgium: The organic food and farming movement (IFOAM EU) and the International Biocontrol Manufacturers Association (IBMA) published last week a five-year roadmap for collaboration to promote the uptake of safe, environmentally friendly and efficient biocontrol technologies of natural origin.
IBMA and IFOAM EU welcome the European Green Deal’s recognition of the role of organic farming and of new innovative techniques to improve the sustainability of the food system. IBMA and IFOAM EU ask for concrete targets and actions in the “Farm to Fork strategy”, the zero-pollution action plan as well as the EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy. DG SANTE Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, highlighted the need for “ambitious targets on pesticides and fertilisers to substantially reduce the risks associated with them.” To make the Green Deal a reality we need concrete actions to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides, underlines IFOAM EU.
One concrete solution to achieve this is to promote the faster registration and uptake of biological plant protection technologies from natural origin. IBMA and IFOAM EU strongly believe that biocontrol technologies are an important part of the solution as these products are usually highly specific to one particular pest, they origin from nature or are identical to nature when synthetized so the unknown risk is low, and resistance to a product is very rare. These technologies are commonly used as a complement to preventive and indirect plant protection measures which form the basis of sustainable and organic farming systems. Only if farmers and gardeners have an adequate number of alternatives to synthetic inputs, an ecological transformation of the food and farming system can be successful.
As the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) launched the United Nations International Year of Plant Health (IYPH) for 2020, IFOAM EU and IBMA have identified seven areas for potential collaboration for the years to come. Among others, to advocate for a dedicated and proportionate regulatory framework for biocontrol solutions and to build knowledge and competence on natural origin plant protection in registration authorities and among farmers.
Very successful examples of natural origin plant protection technologies exist for glasshouse pests, particularly for vegetables. While biocontrol technologies for arable crops are already efficiently used in some European countries, there is an urgent need for more solutions adapted to outdoor crops. The biocontrol industry is investing in research and development of biocontrol technologies that fit organic farming principles.
IBMA and IFOAM EU support increased knowledge sharing and cooperation among farmers, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), policymakers and stakeholders in order to fill the gaps in pests and diseases control.
This roadmap is part of the important work towards a more sustainable and organic agriculture production system for future generations.
The International Biocontrol Manufacturers Association (IBMA) is the voice of the biocontrol technologies industry and represents all its members to promote them and bring to the market via proportionate regulation these green innovative and effective technologies for sustainable agriculture, allowing the farmers to grow healthy, productive and profitable crops.
The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements, EU group (IFOAM EU) represents more than 210 member organisations in the EU-28, the EU accession countries and EFTA. Member organisations span the entire organic food chain and beyond: from farmers and processors organisations, retailers, certifiers, consultants, traders and researchers to environmental and consumer advocacy bodies