EU to accelerate sustainable plant protection

European ministers of agriculture have given their unanimous backing to an implementation plan to accelerate sustainable plant protection. The plan, proposed by the Netherlands Presidency, will promote the availability of low-risk plant protection products and other alternatives and thus speeding up sustainable plant protection in Europe. Ministers attending a meeting of the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council in Brussels decided to start implementing the plan immediately.

Minister of agriculture Martijn van Dam said, ‘Our food must be produced more naturally, using plant protection with lower risks. We can achieve this by introducing more sustainable plant protection products and boosting innovation in this area. The plan we adopted today is an important step forward.’

The implementation plan was prepared during the Netherlands Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Experts from 19 member states have worked on the plan, in collaboration with the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). It includes measures to speed up the authorisation of low-risk substances and products so they can be brought to market more quickly. Alist of approved substances will help farmers and growers selecting the right plant protection products. EU training programmes and an online expertise platform will also be introduced to improve information-sharing among member states.