Crop Protection



The report sets out to better understand the issues surrounding the way agricultural crops are protected in the EU. EU agriculture relies heavily on the use of synthetic chemical plant protection products to combat pests and diseases. Whilst EU regulation aims to encourage the uptake of non-synthetic crop protection methods to reduce harm to human health and the environment, the strategy is not working. Available data show no significant overall change in the use and associated risks of plant protection products during the last decade. A transition in the way crops are protected in the EU is needed. The report proposes one which aims to re-establish ecosystem functions on agricultural land to provide nature-based solutions for pest, disease and weed threats, and to utilise all means to enable a substantial fall in the harms caused to health and environment by use of PPPs. This transition cannot be disassociated from the wider food system and land use changes which will have to embrace food consumption and waste, food pricing which internalises the true cost of production, and welfare and trade policy. The report spells out some of the policy changes and key actions to bring about the required transition.


CP report cover

Buckwell, A., De Wachter, E., Nadeu, E., Williams, A. 2020. Crop Protection & the EU Food System. Where are they going? RISE Foundation, Brussels.

     RISE 2020 Crop Protection report (pdf)

     Appendix to the report – extended version of Chapter 2 (pdf)




Launch event

On May 19th 2020 we held a webinar to present the report with our Chairman Janez Potocnik as a host and interventions from Allan Buckwell and Sir Charles Godfray. You can watch the recording of the online event below:



Remaining balanced and impartial

As a public utility foundation, it is crucial that RISE remains independent, impartial and science-led in all of its work. The team, supported by the Board, works hard to ensure that the Foundation’s work retains this unbiased balanced perspective in what are often highly debated issues.
This process is supported by an independent Advisory Committee that provides guidance on the research questions, the direction of the report, ensures the report is science-driven and has no bias, and highlights crucial papers or evidence.

For the report on the ‘Future of Crop Protection in Europe’, the Advisory Committee members are:

  • Professor Tim BENTON, Research Director – Emerging Risks. The Royal Institute of International Affairs Chatham House and Professor University of Leeds;
  • Emile FRISON, Expert member of the Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems IPES-Food;
  • Michael HAMELL, Adjunct Professor of Agriculture, University College Dublin;
  • Professor Per KUDSK, Head of Section of the Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University;
  • Professor Erik MATHIJS, Director of SFERE (Sustainable Food Economies Research Group) and Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, KU Leuven;
  • Professor Pieter SPANOGHE, Head of the Research Group on Crop Protection Chemistry. Department of Plants and Crops - Ghent University.

In addition to the Advisory Committee, RISE asks a range of stakeholders – environmental and health NGOs, industry, farmers and policy-makers – to independently comment on its work.

An initial stakeholder debate was held in Brussels in April 2019, as part of the Forum for the Future of Agriculture 2019.

See the workshop summary report and a presentation by Professor Buckwell.


This project has received financial support from the European Landowners’ Organization, The Friends of the Countryside, The European Crop Protection Association, John Deere, CropLife, Fediol, LAPAR, CMSZP, Familienbetriebe Land Und Forst and Acqua e Sole.

Designed & Developed by Smart Concept