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Biocontrol & Biostimulants: The Brightest Spots In Agriculture

Biocontrol, Biostimulants, Microbiome

Biocontrol and biostimulants hold the key to important agricultural benefits such as improved efficiency, increased yield and greater sustainability. Backed by a wide range of university field trials showing efficiency and yield improvements, and supported by a growing number of farmers, turf and ornamental growers, adoption of biostimulants have significantly increased over the past decade.

Over the next few years, the biocontrol and biostimulants market is expected to grow over 10 percent per year. Current estimates show that the global biostimulant market is approximately $2 billion; it is expected to grow to $3 billion annually by 2019 and to over $4.1 billion by 2025.

People often ask me, “What are plant biostimulants?” While a simple explanation may be “probiotics for the soil,” the term “plant biostimulants” is much broader, more complex, and as yet, undefined by any regulatory body in the world. The term “plant biostimulants” encompasses a range of products – from microbial or bacterial inoculants to certain biochemical materials, amino acids, humic and fulvic acids, seaweed extracts and other similar materials.

As the technology remains open to interpretation by state and federal regulators, this creates misunderstanding and puts these products under regulatory schemes that do not adequately account for their inherent safety or perceived risk. While the regulators may struggle to classify these products, fortunately, in many countries they are beginning to work with industry to come up with regulatory definitions and a framework for oversight.

In July 2017, the European Union took the first major step in this effort as the European Parliament voted to support a single market for biostimulants. This vote included three primary goals for the EU; creating a definition of biostimulants, clarifying the boundaries that exist with pesticide/plant protection products and developing safety criteria standards.

In the U.S., federal regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have acknowledged the existing grey areas in the U.S. with respect to this category of products. EPA has been working with the biostimulant industry and related stakeholders to develop guidance that will help clarify some of these murky regulatory issues.

Biocontrol, Biostimulants, Microbiome


David Beaudreau
is a Senior Vice President at DC Legislative and Regulatory Services, a legislative and regulatory lobbying and consulting firm in Washington, DC.

 

Discover more about biocontrol and biostimulants techniques. Register for the 2nd Partnerships in Biocontrol, Biostimulants and Microbiome: USA.

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