IPMWORKS (H2020) to provide expert testimony on pesticides use in European Parliament hearing in relation to Sustainable Use Directive/Regulation

On 23rd May 2023, the European Parliament will be organising an AGRI-ENVI joint Public Hearing on IPMWORKS to explain how Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is indeed working across over 25 demo hubs and farms across Europe.

IPMWORKS agronomy experts and farmers will provide firsthand testimonial on the project´s IPM practices which demonstrate how they are successfully reducing pesticides use across Europe. This dedicated IPMWORKS hearing will be broadcast live on the EP website on 23rd May from 9.45 to 12.00pm. IPMWORKS also organized an exhibition in the European Parliament last February which was visited by 60 MEPs and the EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski.

Chaired jointly by the President of the AGRI Committee (Norbert Lins) and the Vice-Chair of the ENVI Committee (Anja Hazekamp), the IPMWORKS project will be represented by IPMWORKS Coordinator Nicolas Munier-Jolain (INRAE- FR), Mette Sonderskov (Aarhus University-DK), Eduardo Crisol (COEXPHAL-ES), Bruno Neves (farmer-PT) and Mathias Jonckheere (farmer-BE).

According to Nicolas Munier-Jolain (INRAE, France), IPMWORKS coordinator: “Reducing pesticide use in ‘conventional’ agriculture is possible but remains challenging, as it requires a significant re-design of farmer crop and pest management strategies and this will take time. However, reducing pesticide use should not endanger food security in Europe as non-chemical methods are efficient when properly combined, and pesticides can still be used as a justified last resort under IPM strategies. However, farmers cannot do this alone. They need to be accompanied and supported in this transition. The whole food chain has to work together to organise markets for crop diversification and inform consumers about the level of pesticide use. Farmers also need to receive a major scale-up in terms of the training, advisory and coaching support they receive (through programmes such as IPMWORKS´ peer to peer hubs).”

Alun Jones (CIHEAM Zaragoza), IPMWORKS Policy lead who was responsible for organizing the EP exhibition and bringing about the participation of IPMWORKS in this EP hearing said: “We are grateful for the confidence that the European Parliament has bestowed in the IPMWORKS project which is working hard to demonstrate that IPM does indeed work for farmers. With 60 MEPs attending our EP exhibition in February and now this dedicated IPMWORKS hearing, it is clear that MEPs are also demonstrating their support and belief in Integrated Pest Management. The only question that now remains is the scale, urgency and support that EU´s policy-makers will now provide to a progressive reduction in pesticides use agriculture under IPM.”

This hearing comes at a crucial time when the EP is debating the reform of the Sustainable Use Directive with a proposal for a Regulation on the sustainable use of plant protection products (2021/2115) which includes IPM as the cornerstone in its implementation.