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CIRAD is participating in ENDURE, a European Network of Excellence for the development of sustainable crop protection strategies

ENDURE, coordinated by INRA, has received € 11.2 million in EU funding, and will involve more than 130 researchers working in 18 European organizations over the next four years.

The ENDURE network is due to be presented to journalists at a press conference during the 2007 Paris International Agricultural Fair, from 11 am to 1 pm on Friday 9 March, on the INRA stand. Jean-Louis Sarah will be representing CIRAD.

An integrative approach

ENDURE (European Network for the Durable Exploitation of Crop Protection Strategies) aims to bring together basic and applied research resources across Europe to promote the development of crop protection strategies compatible with sustainable development.

The network will foster investment in the biology of pathogens, insect pests and weeds and the creation of varieties with sustainable resistance, the use of biological control, the spatial diversification of agricultural ecosystems, the management of invasive species and the integrated management of weeds. It will mobilize methods, tools and experience which will enable the implementation of integrated crop protection systems less reliant on or requiring lower inputs of plant health products. Particular emphasis will be placed on the design of innovative plant protection systems, evaluated not only in terms of their agronomic efficacy, environmental impacts and economic consequences but also consumer perceptions, marketing strategies, barriers to and drivers of adoption of innovation and regulatory policies regarding plant health.

Through the pooling of knowledge, equipment and human resources from leading teams throughout Europe, the network also aims to create a multidisciplinary and transnational joint research culture. It will cover a wide variety of disciplines (agronomy, genetics, plant pathology, entomology, ecology, economics, sociology) in order to generate new knowledge, aid in the development of novel technologies and propose innovative cropping strategies which are essential to the development of sustainable, economically viable alternatives.

The work by ENDURE aims to foster solutions applicable to a diversity of crops and production systems across Europe, and to provide support to the stakeholders who will be implementing them.

In conjunction with stakeholders

The network wishes to create and sustain working relationships with the scientific, industrial, associative and political worlds. It will supply them with information, identify their expectations and respond to their needs for knowledge and expertise so as to enable the emergence of dialogue between these groups concerning economically, culturally and socially acceptable solutions.

According to Pierre Ricci, project coordinator, "By pooling the skills and knowledge available in Europe, ENDURE aims to become a world leader in the development and implementation of sustainable control strategies. The aim is to become the prime point of reference in Europe with respect to crop protection, not only for actors in industry but also for policy decision-makers."

CIRAD is involved in the network in several ways

Three research units are directly involved in its scientific work. UMR PVBMT (Plant Communities and Biological Invaders in Tropical Environments), in Réunion, is providing its experience of emerging biological invaders, with two models: the Bemisia tabaci/TYLCV (insect vector/virus) complex on tomato, and fruitflies. The Banana, Plantain and Pineapple Cropping Systems Research Unit, in Guadeloupe and Martinique, is contributing towork on the ecology of soil organism populations and a study of innovative systems that enable reductions in pesticide use. UMR BGPI (Biology and Genetics of Plant-Pathogen Interactions for Integrated Protection), in Montpellier, is providing its experience of the genetic diversity of a fungal pathogen that affects banana (Mycosphaerella fijiensis) and of banana plant resistance to the pathogen. The unit will also be working closely with UMR PVBMT on the Bemisia tabaci/TYLCV complex.

Moreover, CIRAD will be coordinating the network's links with countries outside Europe, particularly its partners in the South.

It is also in charge of external communication (graphic identity, website, brochures, etc) and of organizing an international conference in Montpellier in October 2008.

Helen Burford | alfa
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