Although young, the biostimulants industry is international. Similar regulations around the globe will help biostimulants to make their full contribution to more sustainable agriculture across the globe and foster market development while protecting farmers and consumers. EBIC president Giuseppe Natale sent the message below to EBIC’s Chinese colleagues on the occasion of the 5th Global Seaweed Plant Nutrition Forum, hosted by the Chinese Seaweed Industry Association, and the 20th anniversary of Leili Group. last week:
Both milestones illustrate the China is a critical player in the movement to make global agriculture more sustainable. As the most populous country on Earth, China is concerned perhaps more than any other with being able to meet growing demand for food, feed, fibre and energy crops with the fewest unwanted impacts.
Biostimulants are an important technology in the 3rd agriculture revolution: after the introduction of mechanization and chemical inputs, growing understanding of biology is helping to resolve the tension between increasing yields and minimizing the unwanted impacts associated with farming to meet the needs of six, seven and perhaps as many as nine billion people in coming decades. Biostimulants unleash powerful interactions within plants and between plants and the beneficial micro-organisms in the soil. These interactions make plants heartier and increase the efficiency of how plants use conventional inputs like fertilizers and pesticides. China is a natural leader for the development and deployment of biostimulants, especially since it is the largest national consumer of fertilizers.
The European Biostimulants Industry Council (EBIC) promotes the importance of biostimulants for improving agricultural practices throughout the world. For this to become possible, EBIC members believe that governments have a leadership role to play in providing the right framework:
- Regulations should ensure consumer safety and give farmers confidence that products are safe and effective.
- Regulations should make product registration accessible even for small and medium-sized companies, which are the heart of this innovative sector.
- Regulations should promote continued innovation in the development of new biostimulants on an on-going basis.
- Regulations should provide stability and predictability so that companies and their investors feel comfortable making investments today that may only bear fruit in several years.
When implemented correctly, these four points can and should be mutually supporting and pursued in parallel. In Europe, EBIC has been at the heart of very constructive discussions with European authorities and other stakeholders on how to achieve these objectives, and real progress has already been achieved, with more to come.
Yet agriculture is an international business. Biostimulant markets are global. Farmers do not want their market opportunities to be limited because their local regulations for using biostimulants and other inputs are incompatible with requirements elsewhere.
Governments and the biostimulants industry around the world should work to harmonize regulatory frameworks as much as possible for the benefit of farmers, consumers and the people and companies investing in this emerging sector. Since this is a new technology, we have the opportunity to get it right from the beginning, if we work together.
The European Biostimulants Industry is delighted to count pioneers like LEILI Group and the Chinese Seaweed Industry Association among its global friends and partners.