“The IPMWORKS network allows growers to see the bigger picture”

David Lafond - French Wine and Vine Institute

David Lafond
David Lafond at Agroscope (Nyon, Switzerland) during the second IPMWORKS Annual Meeting.

David Lafond, engineer at the French Wine and Vine Institute, leads the vineyards sector within the H2020 IPMWORKS project. He is in charge of facilitating exchanges between the groups of IPM demonstration farms (the IPMWORKS hubs) linked to viticulture. He explains the functioning of these exchanges during this interview conducted in the course of the second IPMWORKS Annual Meeting held in Nyon, Switzerland.

What is your role in this project?

I am the vineyards sector leader, which means that I am here to build relationships and facilitate the communication among the hubs linked to the grapevine sector in the different countries.

How many hubs are there in your sector? How do they communicate with each other?

Currently, there are four hubs linked to viticulture in the IPMWORKS network. They are located in Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Slovenia. Each of these hubs has an IPM facilitator, the hub coach. Some hub coaches from the existing French network DEPHY are also involved in the project. This is interesting because, coming from an older network, they can provide valuable feedback to the new IPMWORKS hub coaches.

We decided to arrange frequent meetings to see what’s going on at the moment in the different hubs. So, every two months we discuss all the topics related to the hubs: demo events, meetings, or other specifics required for the functioning of the IPMWORKS network (the hub journal, the surveys…). And we see how the hub coaches can handle them. My role is, mainly, to facilitate all these exchanges.

Starting to make a common IPM culture within Europe is the most interesting and exciting part of the IPMWORKS project


What do you think are the project’s main achievements within the grapevine sector?

As a group, I would say that the main achievement is to have a functional sector. All the coaches are doing well, there are good relationships among them, and there is some discussion about cross visits. And this is, I think, the added value of projects like IPMWORKS: to allow these exchanges between hubs, so that the hub coaches are not on their own facilitating the group of growers.

As far as IPM adoption is concerned, participating in this network allows growers to take a step back and see the bigger picture. They look at how things are done in different contexts and may add some techniques they have seen in other regions or countries.

And for you, what is your biggest takeaway from your participation in this H2020 project?

I would say that starting to make a common IPM culture within Europe is the most interesting and exciting part. In France, for example, the approach is more holistic and systemic, but in other countries it is more specific to some topics or interests. By participating in this network, the growers can have insights from other countries and may see that things are done differently in other contexts with a good result. Gaining this broader view is, I think, the main advantage of being part of an European project like this one.