• Reduce text

    Reduce text
  • Restore text size

    Restore text size
  • Increase the text

    Increase the text
  • Print


Milestone on the road to chemical pesticide-free agriculture

In the framework of preparing Horizon Europe and to bring a common scientific perspective to the pivotal question of pesticide use in agriculture, INRA together with the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) and the Julius Kühn-Institut German Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants (JKI) have elaborated a scoping paper. This document is intended to be the cornerstone for future discussions on this topic. To set the wheel in motion, a workshop on the scientific priority "Towards Chemical Pesticide-free Agriculture" was organised at INRA's headquarters in Paris on 5 October 2018.

Christian Huyghe introducing the workshop on chemical pesticide-free agriculture on 5 October 2018
Updated on 10/23/2018
Published on 10/22/2018

This event brought together 50 participants from nearly 10 European organisations. It aimed to:

  • Build a scientific community by associating several European research institutes to this dynamic, including research groups already involved in several key FP7 and H2020 projects, such as AgriLink, DiverIMPACTS, EMPHASIS, POnTE, BINGO
  • Set the scene, by consolidating the current view, identifying the research and innovation gaps and linking them with the relevant research designs
  • Establish a modus operandi for the coming months/years (sharing tasks, gathering regularly for meetings, organising workshops, etc.)

Consensus on forefront science to focus on

Participants first acknowledged that the ambition of this initiative was very bold and highly challenging, but at the same time equally important. All agreed that such a transversal scientific question could only be answered through a holistic response brought by a concerted European effort.
Through working group discussions, participants identified forefront science to focus on and associated scientific issues to address with a transdisciplinary approach, such as:

  • Reliable high throughput phenotyping systems for known and upcoming diseases
  • Mathematics and statistics on epidemiology and pest dispersal, use data from survey and citizen science; model based risk assessment; spatial arrangements
  • Interactions with market and consumer behaviour: future agrifood system vision

In order to obtain actionable results in a clear and reasonable timeframe, all agreed that there was a need to:

  • Set boundaries so that the research efforts could remain sufficiently focused
  • Establish a roadmap for change clarifying the ambition and associating timeline and short-, mid- and long-term objectives
  • Involve relevant additional actors/stakeholders/expertise to achieve these objectives.

Way forward to obtain actionable results

The process to accomplish these goals was also discussed and agreed on:

  • Within the next 6 months, sub-groups will elaborate scoping papers on the 4 selected topics, i.e. Biocontrol, Insects and Microbiome; Genetics and New Species for New Services; Technology, Modelling and Agro-equipment; Agri-food System Transition and Societal adoption; and an extra one on Economy and Trade
  • Representative from each member state will elaborate a 2-page synthesis summarizing the relevant on-going research and including the societal context surrounding this question
  • Reconvene for a second workshop to be organized late spring in Germany.

Introduction by Christian Huyghe

Listen to the soundtrack of Christian Huyghe's introduction to the workshop

and view slides from his presentation:

Towards a chemical pesticide-free agriculture