Externally funded project

Ensuring the quality of innovative crop growth inputs derived from biological raw materials ( biological food for plants) - (BFPs) (BFPS)


Project Details
Project duration: 02/200702/2007


Abstract
The global objective of the Project is to increase the quality, reliability, safety, and end-user acceptance of environmentally benign crop growth inputs (Biological Food for Plants -BFPs) for intensive horticulture, thus contributing to the common agricultural reform policy that promotes quality products and sustainable agriculture. BFPs are innovative soil or plant amendments derived from biological resources that contain one or more biologically active compounds that reinforce crop vigour. BFPs reduce the need to employ mineral fertilisers, and also improve crop health, plant disease resistance, and soil micro-life, thus decreasing the dependency on chemical crop protection agents. Among organic and conventional crop producers, an urgent need exists to access environmentally benign, safe, and effective inputs, and consumers also increasingly demand 'green' agricultural products with guaranteed quality and safety, and good traceability. The Project initiates integrated actions to meet the abovementioned needs and provide the required guarantees. First, the manufacturing processes ofBFPs (such as leather hydrolysis, natural extraction of seaweed and herbs, and chemical extraction of pine needles) are reviewed and, for each process, a quality management system is developed according to IS0-9001 guidelines. Quality management systems will be developed to permit systematic reduction of waste, to increase production efficiencies, and to ensure safe and homogenous BFP products of known consistency. These efforts contribute to one of the objectives of the EC, i. e. product transparency and traceability. Second, scientific research is carried out on BFP products for their exact chemical and biological composition (including pathogens and heavy metal content) and their effect on plant growth, plant health, and soil micro-life. Also a scientific assessment is made of the impact of BFPs on soil and groundwater. Furthermore, scientific research is carried out on the quality of the vegetables and fruits produced with and without BFPs. Possible pathogen loads and chemical contaminants are measured, as well as.. positive quality indicators such as storability, vitamin content, fIrmness, etc. The scientific results thus obtained are essential for the SMEs to obtain legislative permission to export their BFPs to other European countries. At present, no proper pan-European regulation (similar to the EC label) exists for BFPs or for comparable products, which seriously hinders international trade. By demonstrating that BFPs are indeed effective, safe, and environmentally benign, regulatory recognition of BFPs and thus their international marketing becomes realisable. For increased end-user acceptance, the practical end-use value of BFPs is tested in the Project under contrasting production situations, with important temperate and Mediterranean vegetables and fruits as reference crops. All information with either practical or scientific value will be transferred to the public during the lifetime of the Project through open days, demonstration days, press releases, etc. Research methods will be documented and, if possible, published for future use in efforts to obtain consistent regulations on BFPs throughout the EU.

Last updated on 2018-01-02 at 11:39