PAN EuropeNews


Press Release

5th December 2013

Of course we can feed Europe using less pesticides

Today the International Biocontrol Manufacturers Association (IBMA), the Pesticide Action Network Europe (PAN Europe) and the International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC) are hosting  a symposium together with the Greens, PSE and EPP in the European Parliament to discuss the possibilities to feed Europe with less pesticides.

This symposium follows the first held in June 2012. In fact, IBMA, PAN Europe and IOBC really want to continue the debate concerning alternatives to pesticides through the use of best agronomic practices based on IPM including biocontrol. Our focus is to draw attention to the implementation of environmentally friendly crop protection methods as the major element of making agriculture more sustainable. We aim to discuss with relevant stakeholders the possibilities and opportunities for the EU, the Member States and Farmers on their individual roles in ensuring the uptake of IPM.

The symposium today has been designed to give specific inputs into the debate concerning the viability of alternative to conventional practices. At the same time IBMA, PAN Europe and IOBC believe it is an essential debate to have now in order to ensure a full implementation of the EU Directive on Sustainable Use of Pesticides, especially since all EU farmers need to apply Integrated Pest Management (IPM) from 1 January 2014. IPM is a system approach to farming based on a combination of agronomic preventions, if needed alternatives; and pesticides shall only be used as the last resort.

In addition, this debate linked to the future of EU agriculture, is highly relevant to the EU 2020 growth debate on sustainability and production, as well as to the debate on resource efficiency and moreover to reach the goal described in the slogan ‘achieve more from less’ not forgetting about the very large European debate on innovation.

Through our symposium we wish to investigate if 1) there are tools available which could make other farming models possible, and 2) that member states are making use of these tools to ensure a more sustainable development.

According to our experts a change is needed on the path of sustainable agriculture and IPM is the right tool for this change:

Karel Bolckmans, Chair of IPM Working Group of the International Biocontrol Manufacturers Association (IBMA):“I’m deeply convinced that technically it is possible to reduce the average pesticide usage in Europe with 50% within 5 years. In some crops in some countries probably even more, while in others maybe less, but 50% on average for sure. I’ve seen too many farmers in too many different countries around Europe and around the world who have achieved this already, and even more. Our challenge as policy makers, regulators, companies, extension people, scientists and consumers is to incentivize and also help our farmers to make the much needed change to real IPM, while making sure that their income and production yields remain stable or even improve. A fast track procedure for biopesticides is urgently needed in order to assure that farmers can get access to such products. Nobody understands anymore why our European and national regulators have not been able yet to establish such fast track procedure yet. What is preventing them from doing so?”

Joop van Lenteren, Wageningen University, The Netherlands and IOBC International: “European agriculture is seriously pesticide addicted, IPM could cure this addiction, but it seems that EU memberstates and the EC are not truly interested in realizing a change to ecology based agriculture”

Francois Veillerette, PAN Europe President: “The Member States have not reduce their pesticides use so far. PAN Europe thinks that it is time to set quantitative targets and farmers mandatory steps to be able to achieve a real reduction of pesticides dependency.”

David Cary, IBMA: “IBMA see an urgent priority for all parties to work together to fill the farmers’ toolbox with products of low-risk to human health and the environment... let’s make it happen!”

Ralf-Udo Ehlers, IBMA: “The toolbox cannot be filled whilst Member State Authorities delay acceptance of biocontrol dossiers due to a lack of resources”

— ENDS —

Further information

In 2009 the EU agreed on Directive 128/2009 establishing a framework for Community actions to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides ( This Directive should have implemented into national law by November last year, while member states have until November 2012 to develop so-called National Action Plans to reduce their pesticide dependency by November this year; and as part of this to illustrate how they intend to ensure that all EU farmers apply IPM as from 1 January 2014.

Who we are:

IOBC is an International Organisation of progressive European researchers and other knowledgeable people investigating the use of sustainable, environmentally safe, economically feasible socially acceptable control methods of pests and diseases of agricultural crops. Therefore IOBC encourages collaboration in the development and promotion of Biological and Integrated Pest Management. IOBC fosters research and practical application, training and information exchange, especially of all methods including biological control within an integrated pest management context. IOBC produces guidelines for integrated production of agricultural crops, collaborates with different stakeholders to develop sustainable agricultural production systems  and standardises methods of testing effects of pesticides on beneficial species with the aim to foster biodiversity and ecological services as a natural resource.

IBMA is the association of biocontrol industries producing solutions : microorganisms, macroorganisms, semiochemicals and natural products for plant protection. Based on long years of intensive research and development, the "Biocontrol industry" is now growing fast and can offer safe and cost- effective solutions to the entire food chain. IBMA was created in 1995 to represent the views of the developing biological control manufacturers, which are mainly SME’s with limited resources, research organisations, extension services, consultants, distributors, contributing to the development of biocontrol and participating in IBMA activities.

PAN Europe is an NGO working to minimise negative effects and replace the use of hazardous chemicals with ecologically sound alternatives.  Our network brings together public health, and environmental organisations and women's groups from across 19 European countries. We work to eliminate dependency on chemical pesticides and to support safe sustainable pest control methods.

For further information please contact:

Henriette Chistensen (PAN):, mobile: +32-473.375.671

Karel Bolckmans (IBMA):, mobile : +31-6-

Franz Bigler (IOBC):, mobile: +41-079-278.50.40

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