Future challenges for IPM in a changing agriculture

A workshop will address the globally important issues of food security, food safety and food quality in relation to integrated pest management.

Within the ongoing ERA-net C-IPM, which aims to coordinate new European research in integrated pest management, a workshop is planned in Berlin in October. The workshop targets a wide range of resource groups, including policymakers, retailer and consumer organizations, and research scientists.


The overall objective of the workshop is to identify and address longterm needs and strategies for national and transnational IPM research programmes and ensure the emergence of cutting edge, far-sighted and innovative approaches.


Introductory lectures will address some of the major issues affecting agriculture in the future. The lectures will be followed by a “World Café” in which the participants will discuss four topics and their potential role as a driving force for the implementation of IPM in European agriculture. The results will be published in a report.


The four main questions to be discussed are:


1. How will the pesticide policies affect the availability of plant protection products in the EU and how can IPM mitigate possible side effects?

The EU review programme of pesticides finalised in 2010 resulted in the loss of 73% of the active ingredients approved before the implementation of Directive 91/414 in 2003. With Regulation 1107/2009 on the marketing of pesticides in the EU, which came into force in June 2011, new and more stringent criteria for registration, including hazard criteria based on the inherent properties of pesticide, were introduced.


- The expectation is that several active ingredients currently approved will not fulfil the new requirements and therefore not be approved when they are up for re-registration. Coinciding with the more stringent regulation is a reduction in the pipelines of the agrochemical companies of active ingredients with new modes of action, says professor Per Kudsk from the Department of Agroecology at Aarhus University in Denmark and one of the organisers of the workshop.


Stakeholders have pointed out the negative impact on agriculture as the options for chemical pest control is limited with potentially increased costs for farmers. IPM definitely offers possibilities to diversify the management practices to supplement or replace the chemical control of pests, but which component of IPM should be increased to compensate the reduced number of active ingredients available to European farmers and what can research offer in this regard?


2. How will the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with its incentives to protect natural resources and greening initiatives affect crop protection practices?

In the latest CAP reform from 2013, the European Commission highlights three longterm objectives: viable food production, sustainable management of natural resources and climate action and balanced territorial development. These represent the three main challenges which affect agriculture externally: economical, environmental and terrestrial factors.


- The agricultural sector must maintain competitiveness and increaseproductivity of high-quality food while protecting the natural resources thatagricultural production depends on, Per Kudsk points out.


Greening is a set of policy instruments to support the protection of natural resources. Conservation of ecological focus areas on farms, crop diversification and maintenance of existing areas of permanent pasture are supported through greening. Furthermore, resources from rural developmental programmes will be allocated to agri-environmental measures.


In the arable land, IPM might be considered part of a greening strategy since diverse crop rotation is an essential part of a truly integrated management strategy. As IPM is compulsory in the EU it does notentitle farmers to receive greening funding. However, depending on the success and extent of implementation, this might change in the future.  Which kind/level of IPM will justify green funding?


3. How will global climate change affect the distribution and impact of native and invasive pests on crop production and does IPM have a role to play in the adaptation of agriculture to climate change?

Climate changes are expected to increase the temperature and precipitation. Furthermore, the weather events are expected to be more extreme.Increasing temperature will affect factors such asduration of the growing season, seasonal temperature patterns, snow cover duration, frequency and severity of frost events and minimum and maximum day- and night-time temperatures.


Therefore, the distribution and infestation level of pests are likely to change. This can in turn affect optimal farm management. Climate changes might affect the interactions between organisms that are beneficial or harmful to crops.


Changes in factors such as timing of spring bloom or arrival of insect pollinators can affect ecosystem processes. The changes induced for a single species might in turn affect other species in the ecosystem through changes in competition, predation and symbioses. Changes in the distribution and density of species can lead to new invasive species in many areas and increased problems with species presently of minor importance. This will present new challenges for IPM and a need for knowledge transfer between regions or countries, from the areas where the species have been of major concern in the past and to areas where the species will establish or increase in the future.Can IPM contribute to mitigation of climate change effects in agriculture?



4. Will the preferences of the consumers influence the implementation of IPM in the future?

If the increased focus on IPM in agriculture, due to the implementation of EU directive 2009/128/EC, is extended to the consumers and not only the producers, there is a possibility that the retail sectorwill be forced to take this into consideration in their assortments.


It will be of interest to discuss how this situation of increased consumer awareness might arise and which consequences it could have for the development of IPM.Would retailers develop their own crop specific guidelines, omitting e.g. the use of specific pesticides, such as the ones containing active ingredients included in the list of candidates for substitution?


There is already focus on some aspects of the agricultural production to varying degrees in the European countries, like organic products, animal welfare, local products and sustainability (especially for products from developing countries). The appeal of and the interest in IPM for the consumers will be dependent upon the degree of the implementation across Europe and the ability of the stakeholders to disseminate knowledge of the concept.


Practical information

Get the practical details of the workshop that will be held 8 October 2014 in Berlin and register for it here. Please note that there is limited room for participation. Therefore, participants will be selected based on the contribution they can offer to the topics of the workshop as well as overall C-IPM activities. Deadline for registration is 30. September 2014 (new deadline).


For more information please contact: Professor Per Kudsk, Department of Agroecology, Aarhus University, Denmark, per.kudsk@agrsci.dk


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