Data inizio
07 May 2024

The last months’ intense political discussions have shown that at least the need to speed up and increase the availability of alternatives to chemical pesticides is consensual across the whole political spectrum.
Organic agriculture seeks in the first place to reduce external inputs and mainly relies on preventive and indirect agronomic measures to manage pests and diseases. But for some crops to complement these agronomic practices the use of biocontrol solutions is necessary.

IFOAM Organics Europe and IBMA are calling the European Commission to ensure the faster registration and uptake of biological plant protection solutions, which would favour a significant reduction of chemical pesticides. Biocontrol solutions originate from nature or are identical to nature when synthetized, so the intrinsic risk is low, and resistance to a product is very rare. Additionally, some biocontrol agents, such as many viruses or parasitoids, are species-specific, and thus avoid harm to non-target organisms.

These products are commonly used to complement preventive and indirect plant protection measures which form the basis of sustainable and organic farming systems. Only if farmers have an adequate number of alternatives to chemical inputs, an ecological transformation of the food and farming system can be successful, based on resilient sustainable agriculture models such as organic farming.

But the uptake of biocontrol into the toolbox of farmers is delayed by a reduced availability of biocontrol products and a limited knowledge on their correct use. To leverage the use of biocontrol, the Commission should come up with a more favorable legal framework that would allow for a faster uptake of biocontrol methods as well as with incentives to make independent and impartial extension services for farmers available. This should include a legal instrument – which could also review Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 in a targeted way – to facilitate and speed up the approval of biocontrol solutions. A definition of natural substances including all the subcategories of the natural active substances allowed in organic production pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2021/1165, should be provided (substances of biological or mineral origin).

Source: IFOAM Organics Europe