The organic movement and the International Biocontrol Manufacturers Association (IBMA) call for better regulation of natural origin plant protection technologies
IFOAM EU and the International Biocontrol Manufacturers Association (IBMA) published a five years roadmap for collaboration to promote the uptake of safe, environmentally friendly and efficient biocontrol technologies of natural origin suitable for organic farming.
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. Therefore, 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.” Hence, to make the Green Deal a reality we need concrete actions to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides.
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 believe that biocontrol technologies are an important part of the solution. As these products are usually specific to one 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 to complement 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.
IFOAM EU and IBMA have identified seven areas for potential collaboration for the years to come. These include advocating for a dedicated and proportionate regulatory framework for biocontrol solutions and building 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-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), policymakers and stakeholders to fill the gaps in pests and diseases control.