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Europe is at a crossroads for crop protection innovation

As part of our 2030 commitments, CropLife Europe reports an investment of nearly €4 billion in biopesticides and digital & precision ag technologies. Investment outpaces the European regulatory framework’s ability to approve them.

European farmers need innovative tools to protect their crops from pests and diseases, ensuring that everything that is sown is protected from losses. Speaking about the industry’s commitment to develop biopesticides, Director General of CropLife Europe Olivier de Matos said: “New solutions are currently either stuck in the regulatory pipeline or lack the dedicated regulatory pathways for approval. One single biopesticide substance can take up to seven years before it can be used by a European farmer. This means that any solution developed now would only arrive on the market as the Farm to Fork deadline hits.

Biopesticides are an integral part of the farmers’ toolbox of integrated crop protection solutions. While they may not be a direct one-to-one replacement for all conventional products, we need a regulatory framework that embraces and rewards innovation.

Commenting on the importance of innovation in precision and digital technologies to help farmers meet the objectives of the Green Deal, de Matos said: “By investing in new digital and precision agriculture technologies, we are enabling farmers to produce more sustainably. Using such techniques has the potential to reduce pesticide use by between 20-30% and the land area treated by 50-80%. 

Yet even with a consistent level of investment most tools will not arrive in European farmers’ hands when they need them – 2030 or sooner. 

Surveys confirm that farmers are keen to adapt new digital and precision agriculture tools but call firmly for more financial incentives to support this transition and investment. So how can we go faster and further? We need a more favourable investment climate, as well as better digital infrastructure, training for users, and data availability.”- Olivier de Matos concluded.

In these times where the impact of climate change on agriculture and the Russian invasion of Ukraine are fuelling a growing food crisis in many parts of the world, biopesticides and precision agriculture innovation can positively impact our food sovereignty needs.

Notes for editor:

CropLife Europe members report that between 2015 and 2021 they have already invested: 

€1.75 billion in research and development of biopesticides, representing 44% of the €4 billion committed for investment in innovation in biopesticides as part of our 2030 Commitments.

€2.15 billion in research and development of digital and precision agriculture technologies. This represents 21.5% of the total €10 billion committed for investment in innovation in digital and precision agriculture technologies as part of our 2030 Commitments.