Intro to the issue
Whether it is for managing pests, weeds or diseases, farmers need access to a wide range of solutions to protect their crops. While pesticides are in many instances the only option to effectively control a given pest or disease, farming practices such as crop rotation and biopesticides play a very important and a growing role.
With nature as a starting point, we have more opportunities to develop substances with favourable toxicological, safety profiles, low residue levels and rapid degradation. Innovation is making biopesticides easier to discover, more targeted, safer, and more effective than ever before.
Biopesticides are derived from nature, they regroup four main categories: semiochemicals (e.g., pheromones), natural substances (e.g., botanicals, biochemicals), macrobials (e.g., beneficial insects) and microbials such as bacteria or viruses.
Why this is a priority for us?
In a context of growing societal demand for sustainable EU agriculture and food production, biopesticides are becoming part of farmers toolbox and their development is encouraged by many policymakers and stakeholders. Supporting sustainable EU agriculture means looking at effective, safe and environmentally friendly solutions, including increasing the availability of biopesticides in integrated pest management plans.
What are we doing about it
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. With our #2030Commitments we will be investing 4 billion euros into innovation in biopesticides. Our industry is committed to driving a better, greener economic recovery provided that it will be supported by proper regulatory framework.
To that end we also welcome REFIT commitments and improvements that will “…speed up the work already started with the data requirements and assessment methodologies for micro-organisms” and we look forward to the adaptation of the data requirements. We believe that the revision of some of these requirements would help the industry make the new technology available in the EU sooner.
We would welcome the development of guidance documents for other types of biopesticides such as substances based on antibodies, peptides, dead cells, fermentation products or RNAI which currently don’t have an obvious fit under the current rules. The existing recently developed guidance on semiochemicals and plant extracts shows us that it can be a successful way forward
To learn more about our 2030 commitments and our members investment into biopesticides follow the link https://www.croplifeeurope.eu/commitments/