IPMWORKS annual meeting in Almeria, Spain, 14-16 November 2023
The 2023 IPMWORKS annual meeting was organised in Almeria, hosted by the University of Almeria and COEXPHAL, the local IPMWORKS partner. 60 people engaged in the project met there for three days of meetings, discussion groups, workshops, and field visits. The various sessions were planned to share information, organise the work for the last year of the project, and prepare the future continuation and expansion of the IPM farm demo network after the end of the H2020 project:
- Discussions in small groups were focussed on the tight working program of hub coaches, that includes a survey to assess progress made in IPM adoption by IPMWORKS farmers, the production of a booklet describing the hub progresses during the project, and the continuation of demo events based on practical aspect of IPM implementation in IMPWORKS farms.
- One session was dedicated to capacity building of Hub Coaches, sharing of tips and working approaches to support farmers in their knowledge sharing and adoption of IPM solutions.
- A sector meeting made it possible to discuss about technical aspects of weed, pest and disease management, non-chemical solutions, and possible hindrance for their adoption. A mapping of IPM solutions implemented in IPMWORKS farms was one of the outcome of the meeting.
- A session was specifically dedicated to the future of the network after the end of H2020 funding. A general strategy was discussed and agreed, based on a coordination team and individual enrolment of hubs of demo farms, facilitated by a hub coach. IPMWORKS partners are in charge of disseminating this strategy to find funding solutions for both the coordination and individual hubs.
A large part of the meeting was dedicated to the success story of IPM adoption in greenhouses in Almeria. The group enjoyed impressive visits in greenhouses, where IPMWORKS farmers and COEXPHAL are working together to develop biocontrol solutions to control pests, to manage plant diversity in the greenhouse to feed biocontrol organisms and maximise their longevity and efficacy, and to promote biodiversity around greenhouses to attract beneficial organisms. The biocontrol-based and biodiversity-based strategies are allowing to reduce drastically pesticide use, while impressively improving the quality and longevity of pest control. A really nice example of IPM in action !