Anew way for farmers to show that they are adopting an integrated approach toweed, pest and disease control has been launched by The Voluntary Initiative(VI).
Thereis a requirement under the Sustainable Use Directive for Member States toencourage the uptake of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The EuropeanCommission defines this as economically and environmentally sustainablemanagement of pests, weeds and diseases using cultural, chemical, physical andbiological controls.
UKregulators have recognised that farmers carry out a wide range of thesepractices already and so have agreed that a voluntary approach to demonstratingtheir use of IPM is appropriate, as opposed to regulatory approaches taken byother European member states. To satisfy this requirement the NFU havedeveloped the new IPM plan for the VI, this replaces, the original VI CropProtection Management Plan (CPMP). Another option for farmers is to use theLEAF audit.
NFUVice President Guy Smith said: I’m sure some farmers will have reservationsabout another new form with yet another acronym to fill in. However it’s a userfriendly opportunity to demonstrate and record good practice just as we used todo with our CPMPs. It is this good practice that convinces our Government thata voluntary approach is better than a regulatory one. We should be mindful someof our continental counterparts have this enforced on them through regulation.
VIChairman Richard Butler said: Its important for farmers and growers todemonstrate that they are following an integrated approach to crop protection,so I am grateful to the NFU for evolving the CPMP into the new IPM plan. Itsshorter and clearly focussed on IPM with a simple online format which makes itquicker and easier to fill in. Having had a go myself I can see it will give alot of benefit to those that take the trouble to complete it.
Thenew IPM Plan can be accessed at www.voluntaryinitiative.org.uk/ipmp