In many European countries integrated production, which is considered to be more environmentally sound and more beneficial to human health, has been progressively developing for a number of years. Some integrated production sectors are already well established and have more or less supplanted traditional production methods. In many other sectors, due to a lack of adequate scientific knowledge, support and advice for producers, training or perhaps outlets for the products, integrated production systems are struggling to become established.
To promote the development of integrated production research and services, 21 European countries have decided to combine forces within a consortium called ERA-Net, funded by the EU and the partners, in a quest for synergies and collaborative solutions to common problems. CRA-W currently represents Wallonia in this consortium.
One of the consortium’s main activities is analysing the status quo of the various research programmes being carried on in the different countries, drawing up an inventory of the resources and means available, and determining which results achieved and/or which system developed by one or more of the consortium member countries could readily be transferred to others. This analysis will also help to set the direction of future national and European research programmes by identifying priority research topics.
The consortium’s other main line of work is initiating cooperative links between countries in order to fund research into common topics, drawing on each contributor’s expertise, experience and facilities. As diseases, pests and weeds know no borders, many of the partners are indeed faced with the same kinds of problems. Also, solutions trialled in certain crops could possibly be applied to other sectors. Various project invitations combining national and European funding are scheduled for 2015 and 2016.
In these straitened times for research, pooling the partners’ knowledge, means, resources and ideas ought to facilitate the setting up of research programmes that will promote the development of integrated pest management.