Identifying research priorities for a pesticide free agriculture

NOVATERRA’s consortium recently took part in a two-day scientific conference “Towards pesticide free agriculture” organised by France’s National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment as part of the official program of the French EU Presidency.

During the workshop “What are urgent research needs to move towards a pesticide free agriculture?”, coordinators working on pesticide-related EU-funded projects generated synergies, shared existing results and initiated a collective brainstorming to identify urgent research needs to move towards a pesticide free agriculture.

The following key takeaways emerged from the discussions and lay the foundation for a policy brief that will be submitted to the European Commission:

  1. A pesticide-free agriculture is an ambitious goal that requests a collective effort, synergies and a paradigm change.
  2. The existing numerous stakeholders’ networks should be leveraged and interconnected and the scientific knowledge better integrated.
  3. A bottom-up approach that embeds farmers’ needs, motivations and constraints as well as their knowledge into the solution  contributes to a successful transfer of results to end-users.

Should we look for a disruptive or a progressive transition towards a pesticide free agriculture? What’s the timeline involved? There are still many pending questions and challenges on the bumpy road to a pesticide free agriculture, but for sure a different path truly is possible.