The EIA participated at the annual EBIC Summit in Brussels on 12-13 June

The EIA participated at the annual EBIC Summit in Brussels on 12-13 June

The EIA participated at the annual EBIC Summit in Brussels on 12-13 June

Under the theme “Opportunities for more resilient food systems in the face of volatility”


Here is a summary of the notes taken by Moshi Berenstein (President of the EIA and General Manager of Netafim France) at the round table on “managing risk from climate” based on a series of 6 questions.  An extended version can be provided on-demand.


The European Biostimulants Industry Council (EBIC) Summit is an invitation-only event where policymakers, farmer representatives, food chain leaders, NGOs, academics, and industry discuss how to work together to create opportunities for more resilient food systems in the face of volatility.

  • How to better manage the persistent but disparate risks from climate change: developing the resilience capacity of the sector is based on the need to understan climate change impacts through a holistic approach of the the interactions between inputs and practices. Unfortunately it is not yet so common and often mis-interpreted depending on the parties in the chain.
  • A multistakeholders approach (Public, Private, Research) is the only way to propose balanced and consensual solutions between social, economic, technical, environmental, and political aspects, preserving Farmer’s profitability. These shall end-up in securing productivity and profitability, while meeting high level ecological and social standards.
  • Promoting innovations to make agricultural supply chains more resilient. Through the recognition and promotion of innovative technologies and practices, relied on adapted indicators, to make it eligible to sustainable support/finance. In that sense we have checked the alignment of irrigation sector to EU TAXONOMY Framework, summarised in a position paper, and are waiting for EU commision feedback.  In our view, being associated to such a regulation-making processes is only by making it is sensible and applicable.
  • How can Irrigation strategy alongside the utilization of biostimulants can help farmers cope with drought? No need to remind the water crisis due to over-abstractions. On average efficiency of irrigation water use worldwide is below 50%, varying form less than 40% to more than 80% between techniques.  As water is cheap in general, users are not always sensitive to use it parsimoniously.  Thus, huge efficiency gains could be achieved with existing techniques and practices… provided they are implemented. The connection with biostimulants is tight, via distribution techniques mobilizing the irrigation system for fertigation.  In such case, uniformity of distribution is a key for both water usage and biostimulants efficiency, whatever the target, the soil, or the plant canopy.
  • Do bio stimulants have a role to play with irrigation? Yes, certainly, irrigation is a key factor of biostimulants efficacy, resulting in a mutual added value. We can report on the combination of biostimulants with Regulated Deficit Irrigation, one of the highest water-saving potential technique, via the application of seaweed extracts, macronutrients, and amino acids to alleviate the negative effects of deficit irrigation on plant growth.  Soil targeted Biostimulants that promote soil water storage, in fine, improve crop water use efficiency, alongside other sustainable farming practices.  Combining smart Irrigation and Biostimulants appears as a good promoter of agriculture resilience. 
  • How can various stakeholders (seeds companies, irrigation experts, biostimulants manufacturers, crop insurance providers, policymakers) collaborate effectively to support farmers in building resilience against climate change? Our domains are complementary and can certainly be synergized, two illustrations:
  1. Advocacy and field work to prove the added value of combined approaches mobilizing Biostimulants and irrigation, numerous research results based on multidisciplinary approaches can strongly support but need more diffusion.
  2. The EIA is currently working on the concept of Sustainable Irrigation, positioning irrigation in the EU TAXONOMY Framework*, to foster and inspire sustainable investments in our solutions that contribute to advance SDGs.

We could easily integrate biostimulants in such discussions, accelerate field experiments to strengthen arguments on mutual advantages to farmers.  Further, sharing advocacy efforts (publishing positioning papers, lobbying etc.) on the mutual value of a full toolkit of sustainable farming solutions.

  • What are the most critical steps that each of involved sectors can take in the next five years to better support farmers in managing the risks posed by climate change?

Understanding the biogeochemical processes involved in farming calls for various disciplinary appraoches, all in an integrated way, at individual and territorial level.  This shall rely on objective figures, coming from research and extensions, out of market driven considerations.

As for the irrigation sector “Growing more with less” remains our mantra through all aspects of efficiency, mobilizing financial incentives, part of the green investments.  Getting involved in the Regulation process, through lobbying, publications (e.g. Position Papers), training and education to promote a climate smart agriculture toolbox are our main objectives.

This relies on a clear definition of sustainable irrigation, associated practices, and a reliable labeling system.  We think the engagement of food chain companies developing quality labels for fruits and vegetables, today mostly based on best of class fertilizing and pest management, will soon be extended to water use practices.

As a conclusion, we can’t do it alone, the time for single discipline approach has passed, global collaboration is the only way to advance SDGs.  To support such objectives, EIA tends to challenge the Political Narrative to combat preconception against irrigation, put effort on training and education to help adapting practices and transfer technology, invest in advocacy to unlock regulation and support access to sustainable finance.  To support such process we intend to build a Global framework of sustainability certification based best technologies and farming practices to reach the highest Efficiency in inputs use.