The European Biostimulant Industry Council (EBIC) came into existence precisely ten years ago today. Now just a year before implementing the EU Fertilising Products Regulation, EBIC and its members celebrate how far the industry has come. With plant biostimulants gaining access to the Single Market for the first time in July 2022, the association now aims to help catalyse a more sustainable European food system, the focus of the Farm to Fork Europe Conference it is organising 22-24 June with NewAg International.
On 14 June 2011, ten companies came together in Brussels to discuss what opportunities the future EU Fertiliser Regulation could hold for the biostimulant industry. Ten years later, biostimulants are a central tenet of this critical regulation. EBIC is now 63 members strong, still growing, and recognised as the authoritative voice on biostimulants in Europe. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of EBIC and its members over the last decade, plant biostimulants are now much better-known, trusted, and regulated in the EU and beyond. Having built a solid foundation, EBIC is now broadening its focus to engage with stakeholders across the food chain to contribute to feeding a growing population sustainably on a warming planet.
"For me, the best way to celebrate and honor everything EBIC and its members have achieved during the past decade,” says Luca Bonini, President of EBIC and CEO of Hello Nature, “is to look towards the future. By helping plants to use resources like nutrients and water better and to conserve their energy for vigorous growth instead of coping with harsh growing conditions, plant biostimulants can and will contribute to the objectives of the EU Green Deal. EBIC’s job is to make sure that all the relevant stakeholders understand the agronomic and environmental benefits and how to get the most out of using biostimulants. Our Farm to Fork Europe conference, taking place 22-24 June in a virtual format will look at ‘emerging opportunities and trends in European agri-food & the role of biostimulants in the next-gen food chain’.” The program is organised into three daily themes: Day 1 looks at Farm-to-Fork Investments. The second covers Next-Gen Food Production, which includes both agtech and new business models. Finally, the third day covers the Wider Food Chain, when we’ll look at consumer-facing issues. “We hope that this conference will unleash partnerships with other food chain actors to make major improvements in food chain sustainability. We’re very excited by the stellar speakers who will be joining us and the unique, interactive program that will allow participants to brainstorm together about how to create real impact.”
Plant biostimulants have never been so relevant to numerous political strategies and initiatives. This is a continuation of the vision that EBIC was created to realise.
Remembering the beginnings of EBIC ten years ago, Giuseppe Natale, first President of EBIC and CEO of Valagro, says: "I have always believed in the creation of an organisation such as EBIC, even when many told me it was impossible. Therefore, today, on EBIC's 10th anniversary, I feel proud of how far we have come and even more optimistic about the future. By working together with perseverance and a common strategy, we managed to create something which did not exist: not only did we define the official identity of biostimulants, but we managed to assure them a place in the new European regulation. We have been pioneers, we have been able to anticipate the times - and now, the current environmental needs and issues are proving us right. But I think we, as EBIC, can go even further, benefitting from our past experiences and our know-how in overcoming obstacles intelligently. We might consider EBIC's 10th anniversary a finishing line, but I prefer to think about it as a second beginning."
Under Mr. Natale’s leadership and facilitated by the expert consultancy of Prospero & Partners, the founding member companies of the association navigated a challenging political landscape and overcame substantial opposition to successfully obtain the inclusion of plant biostimulants in the 2019 EU Fertilising Products Regulation. A young and previously fragmented industry, EBIC convened the key players in plant biostimulant production to become the recognised voice of this industry to the EU institutions. To underpin this new credibility in the sector, EBIC's Code of Conduct was launched in 2013 to ensure all companies were dedicated to developing novel, innovative, and sustainable agricultural inputs for farmers.
In 2016 the European Commission’s proposal for a new EU Fertilising Products Regulation recognised – for the first time – plant biostimulant products and offered them access to the Single Market. EBIC continues to engage in the substantial implementation work that remains to ensure effective implementation of the rules and include all plant biostimulant technologies in the Regulation.