The countryside is immersed in a process of change towards a more sustainable production model that is less dependent on phytosanitary products. A process that requires time, training and advice. In order to help farmers in this transition, CIHEAM Zaragoza has developed, within the framework of the European project IPMWORKS, in which we participate, a series of training modules on integrated pest management, a set of strategies that help reduce the use of pesticides. On June 20 and 21, a total of 40 experts, members of the project, of 15 nationalities met at the organization’s headquarters to review the modules developed and define their application in training activities aimed at farmers, advisors and technicians throughout Europe.
The purpose of IPMWORKS is to demonstrate and promote cost-effective and efficient integrated pest management strategies. In this sense, the project provides contributions and arguments in the current debate on the European Commission’s proposal for a regulation on the sustainable use of plant protection products, within the framework of the Farm to Fork Strategy, which seeks to update the regulations applicable to these products, dating from 2009.
“IPMWORKS demonstrates that integrated pest management can help reduce the use of pesticides and produce in a way that is healthy for consumers and the environment, ensuring yields and farm profitability“, said Joaquín Balduque, IPMWORKS project manager at CIHEAM Zaragoza. “The IPMWORKS training modules will be one more tool available to producers, technicians and advisors, and will serve to transmit the knowledge of all the experts involved in the project” he added.
As responsible for the training being carried out within IPMWORKS, CIHEAM Zaragoza has designed the training modules on integrated pest management together with the experts of the international consortium itself (among which we are, as the leading entity of a group of Galician winegrowers) and external collaborators. The Zaragoza meeting served as a pilot test of these materials, where participants carried out simulations and discussed how best to use them in the context of each country.
In addition to being used in specific training activities, all material generated will be publicly accessible as a resource for agricultural professionals.
About integrated pest management
Integrated pest management consists of the application of various pest management measures such as prevention, monitoring, decision making and non-chemical methods to limit the application of pesticides to only those situations where they are really necessary. These measures are combined at the farm level to reduce dependence on phytosanitary products and thus the exposure of the environment and people to these products, while maintaining farm profitability.
IPMWORKS (full project name: A European network for the demonstration and promotion of cost-effective integrated pest management strategies) is a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program that brings together 31 partners from 16 European countries, coordinated by the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE). The objective of IPMWORKS is to promote the adoption of integrated pest management strategies, demonstrating that they “work”, i.e. that they allow a low dependence on phytosanitary products with better pest control, reduced costs and higher profitability. In this project, CIHEAM Zaragoza leads the work on policies as well as training. It also carries out communication and dissemination activities.
About our participation in the project
We lead one of the project’s HUBs, playing a key role in facilitating knowledge sharing, helping farmers find their own integrated pest management solutions and organizing local demonstration activities. We have already organized several events with the Galician winegrowers who are part of it to demonstrate techniques such as pruning the vineyard to prevent vineyard diseases, the prediction of fungal diseases or the use of pheromones and bats to combat the grape moth.