Europe Concerned About Specialty Crop Protection

A recent meeting in Europe sought greater investment for crop protection products and better cooperation among governments and industry to secure minor use exemption for specialty crops.

Representatives from the European Commission, member states and eight food chain organizations discussed together for the first time the challenges and future of crop protection solutions for specialty crops and minor uses under the new regulation on the authorization of plant protection products. The conference, held Nov. 4, reached a general consensus on four key points:

- Protection of specialty crops and uses: Minor use authorizations ensure the protection of high value specialty crops and uses that contribute to the availability of high-quality healthy and affordable food for all consumers.

- Greater coordination: There is a need to have specific EU workgroups and coordination units to look at minor use issues and find common crop protection solutions for specialty crops. The Commission’s commitment given at the Conference to re-instate these groups was supported by all participants.

- A step toward improved cooperation: The workshop was a first step and broader cooperation between all the players in the public and private sector is required, including wider cooperation with third countries. Such cooperation needs to have a holistic approach that will also consider the implications of the implementation of the Sustainable Use Directive.

- Minor use fund: The IR-4 program from the United States is an excellent model that provides solutions and has shown a high return on the investment made. A similar approach could be beneficial in Europe.