AGRIFISH AOB on biotechnologies including biocontrol | IBMA Input to the EU Biotech Biomanufacturing Initiative

At the AGRIFISH meeting on May 27, the discussion centered on biotechnology, with a particular emphasis on biocontrol, following a Danish AOB document. 

The European Commission’s (EC) Biotech and Biomanufacturing Communication, Member States (MSs) Plant Protection Products/ biocontrol were mentioned in line with the DK AOB document.  

Denmark, Ireland, Lithuania, France, and the Netherlands, recognized biocontrol as a crucial application of biotechnology in the agri-food sector. Comments emphasized the need to improve farmers’ access to biological PPPs and streamline approval processes. Details of their interventions are available in the attached document. 

It is noteworthy that while Czechia, Estonia, Finland, Portugal, and Spain supported the Danish AOB document, they did not explicitly mention biocontrol in their oral interventions. Conversely, the Netherlands and France voiced their support for biocontrol, despite not being listed among the MSs backing the Danish AOB, due to sensitivities around other non-biocontrol biotechnology topics in these countries. 

From the European Commission, Mairead McGuinness, Commissioner for Financial Services, Financial Stability, and Capital Markets Union, provided concluding remarks. Commissioner McGuinness, rather than Commissioner Kyriakides, addressed this AOB, as the biotech and biomanufacturing initiative is led by DG GROW.  

McGuinness highlighted biocontrol as a significant biotechnology application alongside NGTs and feed additives, with a stronger emphasis on biocontrol. The EC referred to the challenges farmers face in protecting crops from pests and the need for biological alternatives to chemical pesticides. This is an area where biotechnology can be of help.  

She highlighted micro-organisms as “the most essential group of biological pesticides in the EU”, mentioning various regulations and guidelines to facilitate market access for biologicals, including plant extracts and pheromones. McGuinness concluded by calling for more political will and resources in MSs to expedite safety assessments and market access for these products. You can find the recording here

EU Biotech Biomanufacturing Initiative

On a Biotech related note, the European Commission requested input on their EU Biotech Biomanufacturing Initiative. As the biocontrol solutions industry, IBMA welcomed how important it is to fully support the recognition of the role of innovation to help reduce the overall environmental footprint of agri-food production systems. IBMA input is available here.