Belgian strawberry grower captivates European Parliament with IPM approach

As an advocate of integrated pest management (IPM), Ipmworks received an invitation to the public hearing at the European Parliament in Brussels on May 23, 2023. The event served as a platform for Ipmworks to present its initiatives to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) amid ongoing debates around the European regulation on the use of crop protection products. The Flanders Institute for Agricultural, Fisheries and Food Research reports below.

The public hearing was an opportunity for Ipmworks to highlight its commitment to IPM practices across Europe. With more than 22 demo hubs and 250 farms and cultivators actively participating in their programs, Ipmworks demonstrated its track record.

During the hearing, two growers took center stage to share their motivations and effective strategies for reducing crop protection product use. An outdoor vegetable grower from Portugal and a strawberry grower from Belgium captivated the audience with their approaches. Eduardo Crisol, a Hub Coach and facilitator gave a testimonial on promoting biocontrol solutions and supporting biodiversity in Andalusian greenhouses.

The presentations also included two case studies - one on mixed farming and horticulture in France and one on potato cultivation in the Netherlands - illustrating the diversity of strategic approaches to reduce the use of crop protection products in arable crops.

In addition to growers' testimonies, the hearing highlighted the vital role of agricultural advisory services. In Ipmworks, growers can rely on peer-to-peer knowledge exchange for improving their IPM strategies and finding specific solutions to pest problems. Results such as estimates of resource use on Ipmworks farms and self-assessment data from farmers and growers on pest management quality, workload, and farm profitability were presented.

Moreover, quantitative results from the French Ipmworks network Dephy, with more than 12 years of experience in IPM consultancy, showed that strategies to reduce resource dependency need not come at the expense of agricultural productivity.

The presentations led to a dynamic exchange of questions and comments from MEPs, underscoring the significant impact Ipmworks has had in establishing sustainable agricultural practices.

Ipmworks remains steadfast in its mission to promote pest management and create a healthier future for agriculture. With its participation in the European Parliament hearing, the organization continues to stimulate the conversation on the use of plant protection products.

Source: ILVO

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