For years now, agricultural producers in Almeria have been committed to biological control, a pest prevention and control technique based on the use of beneficial auxiliary insects which has allowed the province to increase its competitiveness, give added value to its products, and meet the demands of consumers, who are increasingly concerned about sustainability.
However, while 'the bugs' do a great job, there are still pests that are difficult to fight. For example, in tomatoes, one example of this is the Tuta absoluta and vasates, and in peppers there are problems with aphids and some bugs. Likewise, in cucumbers, zucchinis, melons and watermelons, the results of biological control are not always the ones desired.
In this context, the technical teams of the Unica Group cooperative, together with those of the Almeria association Coexphal, and jointly with the experts of the Bioline laboratory, have begun a new collaboration to test new methods and demonstrate their effectiveness. Last October 2020, a new European initiative was launched to boost integrated pest control in agriculture: IPM Works.
The objective of this project is none other than to promote the use of alternative techniques to chemical pesticides in agriculture, through practical demonstrations and dissemination of the results.
A total of 31 entities from up to 17 countries are collaborating in the framework of IPM Works. This initiative is aimed at almost all existing agricultural systems, including, in addition to intensive agriculture, also open ground crops, fruit trees and vineyards. The Coexphal association is the one leading the group devoted to covered horticultural crops, with representatives from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France and Portugal.
IPM Works will last for four years and practical demonstrations and dissemination of results will happen frequently.