Food systems are key drivers of climate change and environmental degradation. It is a well-known fact that the use of chemical pesticides significantly affects human health as well as impacts the environment throughout the manufacturing, transportation and application process. Still, the use of chemical pesticides remains prevalent. But one country is determined to drive away its usage and that’s the EU!
Under the Farm To Fork strategy, the EU had committed to reduce the use of chemical pesticides by 50% till 2030. As part of its transition to sustainable food systems, the European Commission announced the increased availability of biological pesticides in member states through new rules for microorganisms used in plant protection products.
The new rules are a part of four approved legal acts and they are expected to be enforced from November 2022 after scrutiny from the European Commission and Council. Currently, there are 60 microorganisms approved for use in the EU and these new rules will provide the EU’s farmers with additional options to substitute chemical plant protection products. These bio-pesticides will be based on the latest scientific developments and target the specific biological properties of microorganisms.
What are Microbial Pesticides?
Certain types of pesticides are derived from natural materials such as animals, plants, bacteria, and certain minerals. Microbial pesticides are a form of biocontrol based on living organisms as the active ingredient. It includes a bacterium, fungus, virus or protozoan. These pesticides can control many different kinds of pests although each separate active ingredient is relatively specific for its target pest. For example, there are fungi that control certain weeds and other fungi that kill specific insects.
Good health and a safe environment is the advantage.
- They are inherently less toxic than conventional pesticides.
- They generally affect the target pest and closely related organisms instead of targeting birds, animals and insects too.
- They are effective in small quantities and decompose quickly.
- The farmers in the EU have to use Integrated Pest Management for crops and when microorganisms are used as a component, the crop yields remain high.
Living organisms require optimal conditions to control pests successfully. This may act as a deterrent to its high efficiency as compared to chemical pesticides. While microorganisms as plant protection substances are less toxic, their safety must be demonstrated prior to use. It must be proven that they do not cause disease in humans or animals. The biological and ecological properties of each microorganism must reflect safety.
Biological plant protection products containing micro-organisms may be less efficient than chemicals as living organisms demand optimal growth conditions. However, its safety over chemicals and biological properties make it a convenient control agent. Also, being chemical-free nudges it to the even greater cause of organic farming in the EU.
As a promoter and distributor of organic foods, we believe it is crucial to think of alternative food systems that respect the planet and health. The EU has always played a leading role in the sustainability of its food systems and we strongly support their every endeavor. We have complied with all the EU norms and will continue to do so. To know more about us, click here.