IPMWORKS at the European Parliament

IPMWORKS was invited on May 23rd for a public hearing in Brussels, in the context of the current debates of the European Parliament about the project of European Regulation on the sustainable use of pesticides. It was a great opportunity to make IPMWORKS better known to MEPs, and to explain how Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is indeed working across over 22 demo hubs and 250 farms across Europe. Two farmers (a field vegetable producer in Portugal, and a strawberry producer in Flemish Belgium) testified about their motivations and their solutions to effectively reduce the use of pesticides. Eduardo Crisol testified about his role as a Hub Coach/facilitator to promote biocontrol solutions and solutions to bring in auxiliary biodiversity in greenhouses in Andalusia. Two examples of farms, one in mixed farming in France and the other in field potato production in the Netherlands, were used to illustrate the diversity of strategic approaches to significantly reduce the use of pesticides in arable field crops.

The hearing was also an opportunity to emphasize the important role of agricultural advisory services, with methods based on peer-to-peer knowledge exchange to promote the redesign of systems and find solutions adapted to each specific situation. Results were shown about estimates of pesticide use across IPMWORKS farms, and about self-assessment of farmers for (i) the quality of pest control, (i) work load, and (iii) farm profitability. Finally, quantitative results were presented from the French IPMWORKS-affiliated DEPHY network (which has 12 years of experience in IPM promotion and data collection), to show that the adoption of strategies aimed at reducing dependence on pesticides does not necessarily result in a loss of agricultural productivity at the farm level.

Presentations inspired many questions and comments from MEPs.

The hearing can be watched on replay (English) in the link below.