Belgian Ministers express support for biocontrol at opening of new facility

IBMA Member, Biobest welcomed David Clarinval, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Self-Employed, SMEs and Agriculture, Institutional Reforms and Democratic Renewal and Jo Brouns – Flemish Minister of Economy, Innovation, Work, Social Economy and Agriculture to officially open its new cutting-edge, predatory mite production facility where the the group’s new name, BioFirst Group, and logo were also revealed.

The event was also a moment to reflect on the current legislative landscape, Jean-Marc Vandoorne, CEO Biobest Group said, “while delighted to unveil our new state-of-heart predatory mite production facility today, we continue to urge EU policymakers to shorten the lengthy registration processes for biopesticides where we are currently putting our European growers and farmers at a serious disadvantage in accessing solutions to counter increasing pest resistance to conventional pesticides. Registration of biopesticides currently takes between 6 to 10 years in Europe, while everywhere else in the world it takes only 1 to 3 years.”

Minister Jo Brouns adds: “In a time, when Europe is being challenged on the very foundations of its
cooperation, it is our responsibility to create the strategic autonomy that is needed to feed the next generations of European citizens. If we want to do that in a more sustainable way, which we should, then we must also give our farming sector the chance to develop and use the alternatives that are needed

Minister David Clarinval:Belgium has always been fertile ground for innovative, pioneering companies like BioFirst. With its biopesticides as an alternative, this company offers solutions for competitive, sustainable and high-quality Belgian and European agriculture. Our farmers need effective plant protection products to ensure sufficient food production and high yields.

Lengthy authorisation processes are threatening biocontrol innovations and farmer competitiveness.

IBMA Global calls on the next political leadership of the European Commission to ensure fast access to biocontrol solutions while ensuring safety for farmers, consumers and the environment by providing for an EU wide definition of biocontrol and:

  • Targeted changes to Regulation No 1107/2009 to grant faster market access to biocontrol products: Modifications to the current regulatory framework is a short/mid-term solution that has the potential to speed up the authorisation and time to market of biocontrol products. This can be done by creating a green priority lane for biocontrol; removing time-limited registration; re-activating article 30 on provisional authorisation and facilitating label expansion.
  • Dedicated legislation for biocontrol: A new dedicated regulation will accelerate the market access of biological control solutions as it is tailored to the assessment of biological modes of action. A new framework should ideally consider the establishment of a permanent network of biocontrol experts, changes to data requirements.
  • A new legislative package providing farmers with a comprehensive toolbox including alternatives such as biocontrol: EU farmers must have access to a comprehensive toolbox of practices and solutions, together with advice, training and support, to be able to transition to much needed resilient and sustainable farming systems. To achieve this, they need access to tools such as biocontrol along with agroecological practices. The implementation of such a toolbox should be leveraged, for example, through some of the financial instruments and incentives in the CAP (as part of the upcoming review) to achieve environmentally friendly agriculture, enabling nature and mitigating climate change and soil degradation.