Challenges and opportunities for integrated pest management in Europe: A telling example of minor uses
Minor crops include mostly vegetables, fruits, nursery stock and ornamentals. These crops account for an EU production value of over € 60 billion per year, representing more than 20% of the value of EU's total agricultural production. The sustainable production of such crops, from an economic point of view, is vital for both human health and European economies. For minor crops, this sustainability can only be realized by the continued availability of crop protection solutions for pest control. The number of minor crops in Europe without viable solutions for plant protection has increased in recent years. This is mainly due to the lack of pesticides in certain crops, as a number of previously authorized pesticides has not been re-authorized due to a stricter regulation. Also the introduction of tropical or sub-tropical crops and their pests into Europe has contributed to the problem of minor crops without any crop protection solutions as pesticides used elsewhere to protect these crops are not allowed in Europe. The limited range of pesticides available to farmers has increased the risk of resistance development since, in absence of a sufficient number of pesticides with various modes of action, farmers apply repetitively only a narrow spectrum of molecules. The direct economic impact due to the absence of viable plant protection solutions for minor crops has been estimated over a billion Euros per year, impacting 9 million hectares throughout Europe. In light of this, here we discuss the current state of the art of minor crops in Europe and elucidate ongoing efforts to address such problems through Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The information reported is expected to provide relevance of minor crops in Europe and encourage the development and implementation of effective IPM solutions.
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