Efficacy and product performance – subject of change
Date: 15 December 2020
With respect to the often time- and cost consuming efficacy data requirements for plant protection product authorisations, publication of EPPO standard PP1/296(1) on the “Principles of efficacy evaluation for low-risk plant protection products” in 2017 was one of the very few interesting regulatory innovations in the last decades. But now, EU’s Green Deal and the related Farm to Fork (F2F) strategy have the potential for significant changes in regards to efficacy and product performance.
Devised as “roadmap for making the EU's economy sustainable by turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities across all policy areas” (EU COM 11 December 2019), EU’s Green Deal has an outstanding importance for agriculture. Considering the nature and objectives of the F2F concept there are many opportunities, especially in regards to synergies between the regulatory approval and authorisation process on the one hand as well as sales and marketing of plant protection products on the other hand. As a direct link between these issues, efficacy and performance of plant protection products will play a key role and gain in importance due to the requirements listed in the F2F strategy. One example in this regard is the mandatory implementation of the Leaf Wall Area (LWA) concept in the European Central Zone which aims at reducing unnecessary pesticide outputs in high growing crops. Further opportunities but also challenges arise from the stricter implementation of integrated production (IP) and integrated pest management (IPM) principles, considering the whole cornucopia of possibilities to achieve a sustainable agriculture. This comprises classical topics such as crop rotation, mechanical, physical, biological and chemical measures, supplemented by precision and digital farming, etc., and of course it includes also new technical and scientific developments on a broad range of fields, such as development of new formulation and related application types to reduce dose rates to be applied or innovative active substance categories such as elicitors or plant activators.
While compatibility with IPM was in the past only worth a sub head in PPP dossiers, the subject will gain more and more attention, especially for chemical pesticides. Where up to now the simple proof of effectiveness was enough as “raison d'être” for a chemical pesticide, proven compatibility and contribution to an IPM strategy may in future make the difference, whether authorities(re-)authorize or (re-)register a chemical product or not, and – with regards to sales – whether farmers perpetuate to consider a specific chemical PPP in their application schedule or not.
More than ever, the mandatory official assessment of product performance and efficacy in the EU will guarantee farmers the product effectiveness, safety and economic benefits due to its application. As such, product performance and efficacy is the direct linkage between agricultural practise, marketing and sales of plant protection products, biostimulants, fertilisers and adjuvants and their registration – for which F2F can be a challenge but also an opportunity.
For more information on SCCs independent handling of efficacy and product performance testing and assessment please visit our website as well as our regulatory guidance on “efficacy in a nutshell”.