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Features Crop Protection Inputs
EU asked to boost ‘minor use’ investment


November 6, 2009
By Dave Harrison


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Nov. 6, 2009, Brussels, Belgium – At
a conference earlier this week, a call was made for more investment to ensure the
availability of crop protection solutions for specialty crops and minor uses
in the European Union.

Nov. 6, 2009, Brussels, Belgium – At
a conference earlier this week, a call was made for more investment to ensure the
availability of crop protection solutions for speciality crops and minor uses
in the European Union. These speciality crops include most vegetables, fruits
and flowers with an EU agricultural production value of greater than €50
billion per year.

Representatives from the European
Commission, member states and eight food chain organizations discussed together
for the first time the challenges and future of crop protection solutions for
speciality crops and minor uses under the new Regulation on the authorization
of plant protection products.
(The Regulation is due to be published in the next few days following Council
agreement at the end of September.)

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The Conference reached a general
consensus on four key points:

Protection of specialty crops and uses: Minor use authorizations ensure the protection of
high value specialty crops and uses that contribute to the availability of
high-quality healthy and affordable food for all consumers.

Greater coordination: There is a need to have specific EU workgroups and coordination units
to look at minor use issues and find common crop protection solutions for
specialty crops. The Commission’s commitment given at the conference to
re-instate these groups was supported by all participants.

A step towards improved cooperation: The workshop was a first step and broader
co-operation between all the players in the public and private sector is
required, including wider cooperation with third countries. Such cooperation
needs to have a holistic approach that will also consider the implications of
the implementation of the Sustainable Use Directive

Minor use fund:
The IR-4 program from the United States is an excellent model that provides
solutions and has shown a high return on the investment made. A similar
approach could be beneficial in Europe.

“We welcome the openness of the debate and believe that
it is the first step in finding answers to the many problems and difficulties
faced by our sectors,” said Luc Peeters, chairman of the phytosanitary group
within COPA-COGECA (Committee of Professional Agricultural Organizations in the
European Union [COPA] – General Confederation of Agricultural
Co-operatives in the European Union [COGECA]) and representing the eight food chain associations.

“Greater coordination and
additional funding will be crucial to
provide adequate crop protection solutions. This should be a priority issue for
the new Commission and the Parliament. The initiation of the report on the
establishment of a European fund for minor uses is urgently needed.”



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