While European Commission funding of ENDURE may have ended in 2010, nearly all partners decided to continue in this important European network of crop protection research, university and extension groups. And continuation is extremely important as the ambition of the Directive 2009/128/EC demands challenging research to revive and rejuvenate the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) concept from decades ago, writes Piet Boonekamp, one of ENDURE’s task leaders.
ENDURE helped to solidify the principles of the new IPM concept, which each Member State has to implement over the next decade via a National Action Plan (NAP). Essentially, the ENDURE slogan ‘diversifying crop protection’ captures the focus of the new IPM concept, and collaborative European research is needed to accomplish the sustainability aims of the Directive.
Directive 2009/128/EC has again put crop protection high on the political and agro-industry agenda of each Member State, as NAPs have to be submitted before the end of 2012. In my country, The Netherlands, many activities are being organised this year by ‘the golden triangle’ of stakeholders (government, agro-industry, research) to formulate the ‘co-innovation research agenda on IPM’ for the decade to come. And it is recognised that the Dutch cannot do this alone, but research collaboration is necessary at the EU level. Being an ambassador of ENDURE, I am pleased that the ‘golden triangle’ is now pointing to the successful ENDURE network as a framework to which it can contribute.
Does this mean that ENDURE in its present form is successful in all aspects?
Yes, ENDURE was successful in adding depth to the eight principles of IPM which are an integral part of the Directive 2009/128/EC. ENDURE was successful in placing ‘prevention’ and the search for robust cropping systems high up on the agenda. This includes use of certified seed and additional controls as important IPM components to prevent disease pressure further on in the growing cycle. In addition, ENDURE was successful in advocating that chemical control will continue to play a role in IPM, but only in combinations incorporating physical and biological controls.
Yes, ENDURE helped to direct the focus of EU research (as executed in the PURE project), the future research strategies in different EU agricultural scenarios (as formulated in the ENDURE Foresight Study, pictured left), and the possible effects of climate change on European pests and diseases (an international workshop in Brussels was organised in collaboration with IPTS). ENDURE has been invited into the SCAR Collaborative Working Group on IPM to help national policy to describe and implement NAPs.
Yes, ENDURE is a network of high quality crop protection research, education and farm advisory groups in Europe, which has enabled ‘enduring’ personal bonds, trusts and friendships to develop, establishing a highly dedicated and flexible taskforce to support the challenge of Directive 2009/128/EC.
However, some goals have not yet been reached. The most important task ENDURE set itself was to find ways of transferring knowledge into practice. I was initially in charge of two activities, setting up an ENDURE Information Centre (EIC) and an ENDURE Network of Advisers (ENA). These activities were recognised by ENDURE as vitally important as knowledge transfer to farmers through advisers is crucial in implementing new IPM tools. The working group was initially very enthusiastic to fill the EIC with science-based (applied and suitable for advisers) but not too scientific information (not practical enough). The ENA established was able to give good feedback which really helped to fine-tune the information in the EIC and give it good momentum.
Now it is very important to maintain this momentum among researchers. The challenges of Directive 2009/128/EC can only be met if IPM tools developed through research can be translated into practical tools for farmers, and the EIC is the unique European organisation to provide this service.
Therefore I call upon our ENDURE community and beyond to upload their knowledge to the EIC as it is an important way to provide ‘science with impact’ and a unique way in which advisers can glean information from other countries. From our six years of experience with ENDURE we have learned that researchers are eager to contribute. The reality, however, is that this requires financing. I therefore also call upon national and EU bodies to support researchers to provide this knowledge for the EIC.