CONTRIBUTE

Crop Protection

The ‘Future of Crop Protection in Europe’ is a primary focus of the RISE Foundation’s work throughout 2019, which will result in a comprehensive study, to be launched in the spring of 2020.

Context

The use of pesticides has become a totemic issue in the debate about the acceptability of current systems of intensive agriculture. It is perceived that farmers have become dependent, some say over-reliant, on application of external pesticides.

Public concerns about the persistence, safety and the environmental impacts of these products have crystallised in the EU in a strict and restrictive licensing regime and explicit EU policy that their use should be systematically reduced.

However, achieving economically and environmentally sustainable crop production while continuing to meet growing food demands from a growing global population is a substantial, ongoing challenge, especially in the context of climate change.

Relieving tensions between gains in agricultural productivity and growing demand, on one hand, and the resulting environmental costs, on the other, requires long-term solutions for more sustainable crop protection.

Rationale

It its ongoing work, RISE aims to look forward over the next two decades of where crop protection should go and therefore what strategy is needed to steer this transition. In the current context, how can farmers protect their crops from disease, insects and weeds to maintain and improve productivity, and their livelihoods, whilst protecting natural resources, biodiversity and the crucial environmental services these provide?

Objectives of the study

To answer the above questions, the study will aim at the following:

  1. Establish beyond doubt that the current situation in crop protection is not durable, demonstrating it does not satisfy consumers, citizens, environmentalist, farmers and the crop protection industry;
  2. Examine Integrated Pest Management (IPM), investigating whether it is working, what is inhibiting its uptake and how the constraints could be removed, and what contribution it can make in substituting synthetic PPPs;
  3. Investigate the prospects for new technologies and new business structures – either in conjunction with IPM or independently – to put crop protection onto a more enduring basis;
  4. Suggest actions to improve the situation through: research; advice and information; creating new incentives; and the necessary collective policy actions.
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