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Innovation & Investment

More targeted ways to protect crops with less impact on nature.

Farmers need tools to fight pests and disease, and the EU pesticides manufacturers are committed to continuing innovation and investing in finding new solutions to equip farmers.

But for farmers, crop production is easier said than done. Changes to our environment – such as the climate emergency, severe soil erosion, and increasing loss of biodiversity – are directly impacting food production. Likewise, farmers must do their work amidst new threats – such as the emergence of new invasive alien species. Add to this the ongoing demands of consumers, not only for affordable, qualitative food, but consumers’ expectations about how food should be produced.

EU pesticides manufacturers are accelerating their innovation to provide solutions to help farmers overcome myriad challenges. We’re finding new ideas to help farmers contend with everything from extreme weather events to society’s changing dietary trends – all the while with an eye on benefiting our environment. In line with the EU Farm to Fork’s overall ambition to reduce the environmental and climate footprint, our industry is investing in tools that will give farmers adequate solutions to protect crops from pests and diseases. We must ensure the protection of our food supply, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic which has highlighted the importance of a robust and resilient food system.

To further the European Commission ambitions of a digital and green recovery, we support the deployment of digital tools to assist in a sustainable recovery. We are already seeing how precision and digital technologies are decreasing agriculture’s ecological footprint.

Average application rates in the 1950s were 1,200, 1,700, and 2,400 grams of active ingredient used per hectare for fungicides, insecticides, and herbicides respectively. By the 2000s the average use rates of newly introduced products were reduced to 100, 40, and 75 g/ha respectively – about 95% lower on average. (SOURCE: Evolution of the Crop Protection Industry Since 1960; Phillips McDougall/Agribusiness Intelligence; April 2019, p 6.) That’s significant. That means that farmers today apply 95% less herbicides per hectare. How is this possible? Advancements and innovation in crop protection technologies.

Biopesticides are another area of focus for our industry. Biopesticides are substances of a natural origin that protect crops from pests and diseases and, thus, contribute to higher yields. Supporting sustainable EU agriculture means looking at effective solutions, including increasing the availability of biopesticides in targeted spray plans. With nature as a starting point, we have a great opportunity to continue to innovate and develop products with excellent integrated pest management (IPM) profiles. While these products can reduce the need for chemical pesticides, biopesticides are more likely to complement rather than replace conventional chemistry, underlining the most important part of farmers’ ability to improve quality, market access and tradability of fresh produce: having access to a variety of tools at their disposal.

By 2030, in the area of Innovation & Investment, EU pesticides manufacturers have committed to:

Invest

10 billion Euros

into innovation in precision and digital technologies by 2030

Invest

4 billion Euros

into innovation in biopesticides by 2030