Growing media and soil improvers are currently produced exclusively under national law, which differs considerably from one Member State to the next. The members of Growing Media Europe AISBL (GME) have thus been promoting since several years a European harmonisation to create a level playing field and lower intra-EU trade barriers for the sector. Chairman Stefaan Vandaele explained that: "The agreement on the Fertilizers Regulation will - in theory – regulate our growing media and soil improving products on European level. We therefore highly welcome the general approach and idea of this European Regulation. In practice however, we fear that the new rules will unfortunately exclude most of the products we have on the European market today. Certain requirements are not in line with common industry practices in Europe. We regret moreover that the Regulation will limit the use of circular products within growing media and soil improving products."
In addition to the question of access to the European framework, the members of Growing Media Europe see a risk for the new Regulation to open the door for low quality products. "Due to the lack of quality standards on agronomic efficiency, the CE-label might be used for products that fulfil the requirements of the new Regulation and are safe to use, but that are not adapted for plant growth. At the same time, our high-quality products will continue being produced under national law, going down the costly and time intense road of mutual recognition for export to other Member States", Stefaan Vandaele clarified.
Growing Media Europe will now, with regards to the implementation of the Regulation, focus on its role as focal point for the industry and on a constructive exchange with the Commission in order to come to workable solutions for the growing media industry.