Plant protection regulations – focus of launch event for TSG’s Paris office

December 04, 2018

TSG Consulting formally launched its new French office on October 9, 2018. 

Located in La Défense, Paris, headed by business director Philippe Kuenemann and his two colleagues Samuel Poidevin and Vincent Bouguennec, this office represents an expansion of TSG’s capabilities in Europe, complementing well-established offices in Spain and Germany. 

The launch encompassed a regulatory-themed conference – attended by invited guests and speakers from industry, the legal profession and the public sector – and a drinks reception.

Are regulations limiting innovation?

The morning’s presentations focused on the topic of regulations and their impact on innovation for plant protection products in France.

Philippe Kuenemann, on behalf of Marc Dupayage (Unéal), highlighted that over the past 25 years, there has been a decrease in pesticides – tightening regulations have impacted innovation and the industry faces challenges in getting new solutions to market. Regulatory (risk assessment) factors and social pressure mean that farmers are facing increasing constraints in the use of both chemical and natural pesticides.

Hans Mattaar, representing the law firm Pappas & Associates, highlighted two major flaws in the current regulatory system in his presentation on the ‘Impact of the Current and Future Regulations and Guidelines’. Hans enthusiastically outlined constructive and arguably radical solutions to address the two flaws: the utopian ‘complete dossier’ and the need to prove a ‘safe use’ as a pre-condition for approval.

Claudio Mereu from Fieldfisher, another well-known law firm, started his delivery on the ‘Impact to Data Protection under Article 43’ with an overview of Article 43 and the concept of data protection. In what might otherwise be a complex and challenging topic, Claudio highlighted two controversial and intriguing practical examples of legal uncertainty in data protection. His first example covered the ‘10 years trick’ for extending the data protection period; and his second detailed the uncertainty surrounding the protection of data during the period from when it is submitted under Article 43 and authorisation being granted by the Member State.

Nicolas Marquet from the UPJ (Union des entreprises pour la protection des jardins et des espaces publics), rounded off the morning session, giving an ‘Overview of French Regulations Regarding Plant Protection Products for Garden and Amenities’. This topic has been prevalent in the trade media, with France taking a leading role in regulating chemicals used in gardens and amenity spaces. Nicolas outlined the current situation and restrictions (bans) for conventional chemicals, as well provided data on the potential for biocontrol agents which are encouraged by the French government. However, there was a clear warning that the move from conventional to biological products, unless well managed, will result in major problems for urban infrastructure and health & safety, as well as add significant costs.

Despite efforts made by industry to innovate, regulations at EU level and more so their application by the French authorities, have led to increased difficulties and constraints on the use of those pesticides that are permitted. Limited solutions are available to farmers; and the situation is even worse for home and garden products, partially amenity products where social pressure has led to stricter decisions such as a ban on using non-organic products.

Whilst regulations may be limiting innovation in both conventional and organic pesticides, opportunities do exist to develop new solutions focussing on biocontrol measures, which was the focus of the afternoon session.

Opportunities for new plant protection products

Yvon Le Henaff from the Industries Agro-Ressources – Pôle de compétitivité Grand Est, opened the afternoon session discussing the ‘Opportunities to Develop New Solutions for Plant Protection Products in France’. As a former General Manager of Agro-Ressources Développement (ARD), he presented the opportunities for plant extracts and the significant possibilities of green chemistry. Secondly, as President of the Industries Agro Ressources, Yvon outlined the high expectations from research and the development of new solutions based on plant based products, not only for agrochemicals, but in all areas of chemistry.

Xavier Langlet from the Ministry of Agriculture presented ‘France’s Position on the Introduction of Bio Controls’. Setting the scene, Xavier described the EU and national evaluation and authorisation system, and then moved on to discuss the practical aspects of sale, distribution and use of pesticides and bio-control agents in France. He gave a comprehensive description of different biological control agents and how these are regulated across France – an invaluable reference for any organization wishing to develop biological control products in France.

To divert delegates from the regulatory environment, Celine Bardot and Damien Hardouin from Wheatoleo provided an entertaining video and presentation of their company and its products, in particular bio-sourced (green) surfactants. Their presentation was an interesting complement to the other bio-control solutions and their regulation given that adjuvants in agricultural plant protection products are becoming increasingly regulated and that there are solutions for both industry and growers.

Oluwatobi Oni a microbiologist from TSG Consulting gave delegates an insight into the nature of biocontrol agents, their potential and their challenges in his presentation ‘Biocontrol Agents – Science and Future’. The good news is that there are new technologies that can improve the quality and quantity of agricultural produce. The not-so-good news is that public scepticism, misunderstanding and regulatory uncertainty is limiting the use of new technologies to improve food production.

Closing the day was Eugenia Pommaret representing the Union des Industries De la Protection des Plantes. Eugenia started with the vision of UIPP, recognizing that a combination of conventional and biological products is necessary. The main focus of her presentation was on the REFIT of 1107/2009 and a list of improvements, key issues and opportunities to improve the regulatory system.

Following the success of this event, we are pleased to announce that we will be hosting the event again 2019. Watch this space!

Comments from speakers and delegates

The speakers…provided the contextual elements, but they mainly put into perspective the expected developments in both the regulatory and technical fields.” (Eugenia Pommaret – UIPP)

Congratulations for organizing the conference. The presentations were of very good quality and for me extremely interesting.” (Michel Preti – MBM Consulting).

A ‘Tour de Force’ of expertise and content, well organized and enjoyable – when is the next event?

Good presentations, lively discussions, good food, wonderful location – a class act, what isn’t there to like?

 

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