BRUSSELS, Belgium: Crop protection is a keystone of all farming activity in the EU, irrespective of the production methods used. With the objective of ensuring sustainable plant protection, Copa-Cogeca, who represent EU farmers and agri-cooperatives and IBMA, the trade association for Biocontrol manufacturers, co-organised a high level symposium at the European Parliament, where this topic was eagerly debated on February 6, 2019.
The symposium was hosted by MEPs Annie Schreijer-Pierik (EPP), Pavel Poc (S&D) and Ivan Jakovčić (ALDE), with the participation of ministry representatives from the Netherlands. The debate featured informative presentations by farmers and industry representatives. Guests had the opportunity to consider and debate the best ways to apply Integrated Pest Management (IPM) principles, based on good farming and agricultural practices, as well as solutions on how to prevent the reduction of the farmers’ toolbox.
MEP Annie Schreijer-Pierik took the opportunity to underline that “Low-risk pesticides of biological origin form an important and integral part of farmers’ toolboxes in modern pest and plant health management. The EU can lead the way in the world market of innovative biological pesticides, by facilitating not delaying their development and use!”
MEP Pavel Poc added that “The European Parliament and all the relevant stakeholders are aligned on the need for an immediate fast-track solution for low-risk biological PPPs. The European Commission should better acknowledge the broadly supported call for action and advance the process. On the European Parliament’s side there is positive cross-party support, as well fruitful collaboration between the ENVI and AGRI committees. I hope we will soon see positive steps forward in ensuring a better environment for the future development of more sustainable plant protection.”
MEP Ivan Jakovčić further stressed that “It is time for a big and determined turning point in treating the land for agriculture! The way that farmland has been treated for decades has exhausted the resources and therefore we need new regulation and new policy! I hope that European institutions, interested companies and farmers will recognise the need for co-operation and creating synergies that will open another aspect of land use in the coming decades in a completely new way!”
Copa-Cogeca’s Secretary General Pekka Pesonen emphasised the importance of the event indicating that “The European farmers are the guardians of the land and are ready to continue investing in further improvement of sustainability in the sector. Unfortunately, despite the interest from EU farmers to apply low-risk PPPs, the availability of such products is clearly far from envisaged. For the EU farming community, it is crucial that investments keep going into this area to bring new and safe products to the market, adapted to the EU agricultural system.”
IBMA Executive Director David Cary reiterated that “The IBMA remains committed to make proportionate regulation of sustainable biological plant protection inputs a reality by working with all parties to pursue the calls within the EU Parliament motion for resolution with support from society, farmers, IGOs, NGOs and industry stakeholders.”