CIHEAM Zaragoza hosts the pilot test of a training on sustainable pest management strategies to be replicated across Europe

The countryside is immersed in a process of change towards a more sustainable production model that is less dependent on phytosanitary products. A process that requires time, training and advice. With the aim of helping farmers in this transition, CIHEAM Zaragoza has developed, within the framework of the European project IPMWORKS, a series of training modules on integrated pest management, a set of strategies that help to reduce the use of pesticides. On 20 and 21 June, a total of 40 experts, members of the project, from 15 nationalities will meet at the organisation's headquarters, located on the Aula Dei Campus in Zaragoza, to review the modules developed and define their application in training activities aimed at farmers, advisors and technicians throughout Europe.

The purpose of IPMWORKS is to demonstrate and promote cost-effective and efficient integrated pest management strategies. In this sense, the project provides contributions and arguments in the current debate on the European Commission's proposal for a regulation on the sustainable use of plant protection products, in the framework of the Farm to Fork Strategy, which aims to update the 2009 legislation on these products (Directive 2009/128).

"IPMWORKS demonstrates that integrated pest management can contribute to reduce the use of pesticides and produce in a healthy way for consumers and the environment, ensuring yields and profitability of farms," said Joaquín Balduque, IPMWORKS project manager at CIHEAM Zaragoza. "The IPMWORKS training modules will be another tool available to producers, technicians and advisors, and will serve to transmit the knowledge of all the experts involved in the project," he added.

As responsible for the training that is being carried out within IPMWORKS, CIHEAM Zaragoza has designed the training modules on integrated pest management together with experts from the international consortium itself (IPMWORKS brings together 31 partners from 16 countries) and external collaborators. The Zaragoza meeting will serve as a pilot test of these materials, where participants will carry out simulations and analyse how best to use them taking into account the context of each country. The European project experts will also have the opportunity to learn about what is being done in Aragon in the field of integrated pest management.

In addition to being used in specific training activities, all the material generated will be publicly accessible as a resource for agricultural professionals.