EU opens talks on minor-use crops protection fund

Discussions are underway between the European Commission, member states and food-chain organisations on establishing a protection fund for minor-use crops.

Representatives from European directorates on agriculture and rural development and health and consumer protection joined the European Crop Protection Association, the Organisation of European Industries Transforming Fruit & Vegetables and other bodies to examine the issues.

The challenges of future protection for speciality crops and minor uses under the new regulation for plant protection products, which replaces Directive 91/414, were explored during the meeting on 4 November.

Greater coordination of research between member states was a key issue, with the commission committing to reinstate specific work groups relating to minor uses, along with further exploring the possibility of establishing a minor-use fund.

Executive director of the US IR-4 programme Jerry Baron explained the successes of the scheme, which receives around $18m (£10.8m) per annum in government funding as well as industry contributions.

Horticultural Development Company technical manager Vivian Powell, who attended the meeting, told HW that it had been a useful step forward. She maintained that collaboration between member states would be key to avoiding research duplication.

"It is about getting more for the resources that we are putting in. Work sharing, collaboration and co-ordination are key," she explained.

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