In March 2016, the European Commission published the draft of a future Regulation on Fertilising Products. For the first time, agricultural biostimulants will be recognised by European law and be sold within a pan-European single market.
One of the stated objectives of the future regulation is to stimulate innovation and encourage the Circular Economy. Yet the provisions for the incorporation of microorganisms will be counterproductive to innovation:
- The Commission has proposed a positive list of microorganisms and does not offer the possibility for companies to have microorganisms certified at the strain level (either individually or in microbial consortia).
- The current list includes only four genera of microorganisms that can be incorporated into biostimulant products. No individual strains of other genera have been included despite the fact that many other safe and effective microbial biostimulants are already on the market.
- The current state of the list seems to imply that new microorganisms will not be evaluated at the strain level, which is problematic since many genera and species include some strains that are effective and safe and others that are not.
- Any microorganisms added to the list in future will be available to all producers, effectively transferring private investments into the public domain without appropriate compensation. This means that microorganisms will be treated in a discriminatory manner compared to substance-based products, the safety of which are evaluated under REACH, which includes provisions on data protection and data licensing.
If European decision makers want companies to continue investing in developing better performing and safer microbial biostimulants, they need to provide an appropriate regulatory framework. Help us secure legislation that will create a European single market for biostimulants and will encourage innovation.
Sign below to urge European decision makers to amend the draft text to complement the positive list with a procedure to certify products containing newly selected strains and consortia of microorganisms without expropriating the data from private research.