IPMWORKS, a leading advocate for Integrated Pest Management (IPM), was granted a special invitation to the public hearing held at the European Parliament in Brussels on May 23rd. The event served as a crucial platform for IPMWORKS to introduce its groundbreaking initiatives to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) amidst ongoing debates surrounding the European Regulation on the sustainable use of pesticides.
The public hearing provided an invaluable opportunity for IPMWORKS to highlight its commitment to sustainable pest management practices across Europe. With over 22 demo hubs and 250 farms actively participating in their programs, IPMWORKS showcased its impressive track record of success.
During the hearing, two farmers took center stage to share their motivations and effective strategies for reducing pesticide use. A field vegetable producer from Portugal and a strawberry producer from Flemish Belgium captivated the audience with their innovative approaches. Eduardo Crisol, a Hub Coach and facilitator, offered compelling testimony about promoting biocontrol solutions and auxiliary biodiversity in Andalusian greenhouses. The presentations also included two case studies—one focused on mixed farming in France, and the other on field potato production in the Netherlands—illustrating the diversity of strategic approaches to significantly reduce pesticide use in arable field crops.
In addition to the farmer testimonials, the hearing emphasized the vital role of agricultural advisory services. The methods based on peer-to-peer knowledge exchange were highlighted as instrumental in promoting system redesign and customized solutions tailored to specific situations. Results were presented, demonstrating estimates of pesticide use across IPMWORKS farms, as well as self-assessment data from farmers on pest control quality, workload, and farm profitability. Moreover, quantitative results from the French IPMWORKS-affiliated DEPHY network, with over 12 years of experience in IPM promotion and data collection, showcased that strategies aimed at reducing pesticide dependence need not compromise agricultural productivity at the farm level.
The presentations sparked a dynamic exchange of questions and comments from MEPs, underscoring the significant impact IPMWORKS has made in shaping sustainable agricultural practices. To relive the enlightening discussion, the hearing is available for replay in English at [Replay link].
IPMWORKS remains steadfast in its mission to drive sustainable pest management practices and create a healthier future for agriculture. With its notable participation at the European Parliament hearing, the organization continues to elevate the conversation surrounding the sustainable use of pesticides.
The Horizon 2020 project IPMWORKS builds a European farm network to demonstrate integrated pest management (IPM) strategies and to promote the adoption of such strategies via knowledge exchange. IPMWORKS coordinates existing networks promoting IPM and launched new hubs of farms in regions or sectors where IPM pioneers were not yet engaged in a relevant network. Hub coaches coordinating hubs will have a major role in facilitating knowledge sharing, coaching farmers to find their own IPM solutions, and organising local demonstration activities.