EBIC and the EU Danish Permanent Representation hosted an interactive workshop to discuss how the right regulatory framework would enable the agricultural sector to benefit from innovative modern technology including biostimulants.
Experts from the Commission, the Ministry of foreign affairs for Denmark and the biostimulants industry shared their knowledge on the role and potential of biostimulants within the circular economy. The conversation highlighted the conditions required to favour the development of this technology and who would benefit.
The workshop was hosted by the Danish Deputy Permanent Representative, Vibeke Pastemak Jorgensen. She began by stressing the importance of innovative technologies like biostimulants.
Eric Liégeois from DG GROW reminded the audience of the impact assessment that the Commission had conducted before drafting the proposal and which had guided their choices . Much of his speech was a reaction and criticism of several points in the newly released draft ENVI report by Elisabetta Gardini. He also reminded the audience that any changes to the text are now the responsibility of the co-legislators (i.e. the Member States and the European Parliament), and that they will be accountable for their choices.
Kristen Sukalac, consultant to the European Biostimulants Industry Council (EBIC), presented the industry’s view regarding the direction that regulation should take, to unlock the potential of the industry. EBIC proposes returning to the spirit of the New Legislative Framework (NLF) to adopt a criteria-based approach supported by harmonized standards. The industry is not suggesting that a separate framework outside of the NLF should be applied. She also noted that some of the current difficulties in the regulation have origins outside the text itself. Notably, that REACH provides a framework for evaluation of substances with data protection, but no such framework exists for micro-organisms. Kristen Sukalac encouraged the co-legislators to look at the bigger picture to identify and fill the gaps.
Lee West, Chief Field Agronomist for Novozymes, provided a view from the market, outlining the safety and sustainability criteria the company applies internally Lee went on to explain the R&D process and described the difficulties that companies have dealing with a fragmented and unpredictable regulatory framework.
Birte Fonnesbech Vogel, Senior Science Advisor at the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, gave a thorough overview to how risk assessment for micro-organisms is carried out, and ended her presentation by stating that this approach obviously wouldn’t work for biostimulants supporting the idea that an alternative needed to be found.
The storify for the event contains selected excerpts from the day’s discussions, participant videos, tweets, photos and links to the speaker presentations.