IBMA calls for regulatory shake-up
The International Biocontrol Manufacturers Association (IBMA) has called on the European Union to establish a new regulatory organisation focused specifically on biocontrol in order to simplify and accelerate evaluations and approvals and thereby provide farmers with a greater range of options.
The IBMA launched its white paper, 'A New EU Regulatory Framework for Bioprotection Agents: IBMA Vision on how to improve regulation in the European Union', at October’s Annual Biocontrol Industry Meeting in Switzerland.
At the launch, IBMA executive director David Cary said: ‘’Bioprotection technologies provide effective and innovative plant protection for modern agriculture. This makes them a vital tool in the EU’s work to support farmers and effectively implement the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive (SUD, Directive 128/2009/EC).’’
The white paper notes: “Existing regulations are significantly slowing down market entry, and often deter applicants. Consequently, there is a failure to support Europe’s farming needs: the system hinders the throughput of innovative bioprotection technologies and hampers the competitiveness of EU agriculture.”
The IBMA suggests that a bioprotection-specific body be created by the end of 2020 along with “a short and precise timeline for the evaluation process, with evidence-based procedures and tailored data requirements. Risk-based evaluations should be conducted using high-level scientific expertise and in close communication with applicants.”
The white paper contrasts the current situation in Europe with that of the United States. It notes: “The USA EPA process for regulating biopesticides is the best example of a system which has been set up solely to regulate bioprotection products. It has a track record of delivering new product approvals through robust rigorous review within a year of submission since it was established in 1994. Importantly it follows a tiered approach and reviews are conducted by dedicated evaluators with relevant expertise.
“Currently, the USA has about four times more bioprotectants available compared to the EU, and the same for pending products in 2018. Similar regulatory approaches are being recommended by FAO and adopted by countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada and China and are being promoted by OECD.”