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EU-CHINA Lever for IPM Demonstration

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - EUCLID (EU-CHINA Lever for IPM Demonstration)

Reporting period: 2018-09-15 to 2019-11-14

Modern agriculture is highly relying on pesticides uses today. The problem is that pesticides can harm non-target animals like for example the very useful pollinators, but also the predators of many agricultural pests e.g. predatory insects, birds, bats and many others animals. Moreover, pesticides may induce the development of resistant population of specific pest and pathogens. Additionally, pesticides have been found to be harmful for the users, namely the farmers, and the consumers.
Therefore, in the context of world population growth and changing environment, agriculture is facing many challenges that we, in the EUCLID project, aimed to tackle by studying various alternatives to pesticides and efficient solutions for more environment-friendly pest management methods in agriculture. To do so, understudied and new technologies have been developed and integrated into ready-to-use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) packages.
The EUCLID project consortium has developed many new promising technologies. These technologies, firstly developed in laboratory and semi-field experiments, have been tested in field experiments in France, Spain, Italy and China. These experiments have led to the evaluation of the new technologies regarding their efficacy against problematic pest and pathogens, environmental and health criteria (pesticides residues analyses which showed a significant decrease of pesticides in the final products to the consumers) and regarding also economic assessment of the technology cost (through the Decision Support System developed at IMPERIAL which showed the low uncertainty of using IPM technologies).
In the research and development part of the EUCLID project many promising results have been found. First of all, new products and micro-BCAs applied according the developed protocols were found to be efficient in the reduction of plant pathogens on the different crops targeted. For example, the foliar fertilizer ANT-Ca developed by AgriNewTech (SME) has proved its efficiency in reducing powdery mildew on lettuce and tomato. In the same company, other products like ANT-compost and Yeast MACH1 have respectively proved their efficacy in reducing lettuce and tomato fusarium wilts and other soil-borne pathogens, and in reducing the grey mould caused by Botrytis cinerea on grape. New tools have also been developed in order to optimise the use of pesticides like the EUCLID DSS Tool and the DOSA3D (used in grapes). New macro-BCAs were efficient in reducing some major pests damages on tomato crops like the parasitoid Necremnus tutae or three different Dicyphus species against the tomato leaf miner Tuta absoluta. Finally, some new technologies have been developed and are promising for future use in agriculture like the SIT-like insect technic developed at OXITEC against the cabbage moth. The company have managed to create sterile males from this major cruciferous pest, but they also developed efficient techniques in order to mass-rear it. The University of Ghent has also developed dsRNA molecules which were efficient against thrips and Meligethes aeneus but with no harm to key non-target organisms like parasitoids and bumblebees.
Following this research, efficient work has been done by the EUCLID consortium in order to test the efficacy of the available technologies in field tests. To do so, field experiments were organised in France, Spain, Italy and in China on each of the targeted crops, namely tomato, grapes and leafy vegetables. A total of 28 demonstration sites were established during the project. From the results of the trials, IPM packages were developed and residues analyses were done on the fruits and vegetables exposed to the developed IPM and conventional systems. The IPM packages developed have been proved to be efficient in reducing the losses caused by the target pest and diseases as well as the pesticides residues in the final products, which was the main aim of the EUCLID project. The development of the IPM Assessment tool created at IMPERIAL College London, allows to evaluate each of these technologies not only in terms of environmental and health efficacy but also in terms of economic sustainability. The IPM Assessment tool is an Excel-based tool which gives a framework in which the performance of individual measures can be evaluated and visualised in 6 key areas: Reduction of losses; Health and Safety; Direct costs; Environment; Time and Management; Scale and Independence. The EUCLID IPM package evaluation tool is now ready for use. The field demonstrations and multi-attribute assessments provide the basis to choose the best pest and disease control measures among those available in field and suggest recommendations to be disseminated to growers by public advisory, institutions and grower associations related to the relevant crops.
In order to disseminate the new technologies developed during the EUCLID project to a broad spectrum of key stakeholders, the EUCLID consortium has been very active in different ways. The EUCLID project managed to reach the different stakeholders in the scientific community and in the agri-food chain. First of all, the EUCLID consortium has been very active in participations to scientific conferences (more than 75 participation or organisation of international conferences with oral presentations of the EUCLID results) and in publishing EUCLID results in international scientific papers or books (59 articles in total). In the framework of difference conference, workshops and meetings, the EUCLID consortium have been able to reach more than 20000 scientists and students from Europe, China, but also from other continents like America and Africa. A brochure for farmers with details about the technologies developed in EUCLID (how to use them, who developed them, on which crop to use them?) have been done in 5 different languages and widely distributed during conferences and on the website. Recommendations to policy makers (available also in Chinese) have been developed after many meetings and interviews with different policy makers. Finally, regarding the dissemination to consumers, the EUCLID website has regularly been updated with new results and newsletters have been sent in order to raise awareness on IPM and keep the readers updated with the EUCLID events, discoveries and innovations.
Agriculture needs to change in order to produce food in a healthier way. Agriculture, generally, is dependent on pesticides as it needs to stay efficient in order to produce enough food for the world growing population. The problem is that the use of pesticide is now proved unsafe for human health and for the environment (plants and animal, on earth but also in waters). The EUCLID project’s main objective was to test and optimise understudied and new potential technologies that could be used in IPM, and that do not rely on pesticides use.
After analysing the fruits and vegetables produced under the field test where EUCLID innovations were tested, the EUCLID consortium proved that it is possible to reduce drastically, even get rid of any pesticides in fruits and vegetables when only optimized IPM technologies and techniques were used. Some of the technologies have even been proved to be economically competitive. The Excel-based tool (DSS) developed in the framework of EUCLID research and innovation program is a new technology which will allow the evaluation of new solutions to manage pest diseases.