Keeping plants and crops healthy is vital for a flourishing agriculture and food production, for maintaining biodiversity, and for protecting our natural environment. In 2020, the International Year of Plant Health, many initiatives are highlighting sustainable ways of protecting plants from an increasing number of health threats.
Various EU policy initiatives, including the EU Green Deal and its Farm-to-Fork strategy, and the Biodiversity Strategy are designing long-term solutions to achieve healthier food and more sustainable agriculture and tackle plant health threats.
To help European farmers protect their plants and crops from pests, diseases and weeds, many innovative projects are testing viable alternatives to harmful pesticides and herbicides. These include an Operational Group from Italy testing non-chemical weed control in vineyards, an Operational Group from Austria developing tailored flower mixtures to attract natural enemies of aphids, and a German Operational Group that combines traditional methods with precision farming techniques for more precise weed control.