There are many paradoxes when it comes to fruit, and apples and pears in particular. On the one hand, we know eating fruit is good for us, but on the other, growing that perfect-looking fruit is likely to have relied on numerous chemical treatments, even though more-or-less viable non-chemical alternatives may exist.
To better understand why integrated control strategies are not more widely used by apple and pear growers across Europe, ENDURE researchers have completed a report examining the role of orchard advisers, studying the social, economic and technical aspects relevant to Integrated Fruit Production (IFP).
The report, Deliverable DR2.10: Orchard advisers analysis of possibilities to implement tools of integrated control strategies , draws on previous work conducted during the pomefruit case study (DR1.8 and DR1.9: Survey and analysis of the state of the art of scab, brown spot and codling moth prevention and control strategies ) and work conducted by ENDURE sociologists and economists (DR2.7: Inventory and analysis of possible social and economic bottlenecks to implement integrated control tools ). In addition, the opinion of European fruit advisers was investigated during a meeting in Switzerland last year that included advisers from Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and The Netherlands.
You can download all these reports, and other information about ENDURE’s work on orchards, below but in summary DR2.10 draws the following major conclusions:
“Growers strongly weigh the reliability of new integrated controls against that of the use of pesticides. Often their perception of the reliability, or the objective reliability, on the new integrated control tools is lower than that of pesticides. Growers balance the yield risks with control strategies and pesticide availability.”
“Growers are used to the relative high efficacy of pesticides. The majority of the new integrated control tools are less effective, or have to be repeated more times, or take much more labour, than the efficacy, frequency or labour efforts of pesticides.”
“Very often the new integrated control tools are more expensive than traditional use of pesticides.”
Differences in perceptions of IFP
ENDURE researchers note that advisers use the term IFP to refer to “a basic set of practices aimed at optimising pesticide use and replacing pesticides by alternative tools when they are not available anymore (because of regulation or because of pest resistance to pesticides). Reference to IFP is never done as a means to move on to a different type of farm management.” One adviser told researchers: “We don’t talk a lot about IFP. We talk about producing lots of fruit for a low price.”
Role of supermarkets
“Supermarkets do not pay attention to Integrated Pest Management as such, but are interested in maximum residue levels (MRLs).” Advisers from northern Europe memorably compared supermarket demands as being similar to asking for a sheep with five legs: supermarkets want fruit that is cheap, unsprayed and good looking, demands which remain a contradiction in terms.
“Advisers are not really willing to advise on advanced forms of IPM because they do not have commercial demands for it from growers, [and] because they have commercial interests to new contracts with growers.”
This report, alongside previous ones, is being used in the ongoing orchard system case study, which you can read about here.
For more information:
|Deliverable DR2.10: Orchard advisers analysis of possibilities to implement tools of integrated control strategies||
ENDURE_DR2.10 [pdf - 23034 kB]
|DR1.8 and DR1.9: Survey and analysis of the state of the art of scab, brown spot and codling moth prevention and control strategies||
ENDURE_DR1.8&DR1.9 [pdf - 45020 kB]
|DR2.7 Inventory and analysis of possible social and economic bottlenecks to implement integrated control tools||
ENDURE_DR2.7 [pdf - 14095 kB]
|Social Science Insights on Crop Protection Number 2: Are supermarket schemes a tool for implementing Integrated Pest Management?||
Social Science Insights Number 2 - Supermarket schemes [pdf - 40007 kB]
|Shedding light on pomefruit research||Click here|
|Market access is key to apple strategies||Click here|
|Assessing sustainability of new strategies||Click here|