Farmers and food chain actors debate the role of plant biostimulants in helping farmers adapt to climate change

On 8 November, EBIC members and stakeholders gathered for our Farm 2 Fork, panel-led webinar,Heat, drought, flood – how plant biostimulants help farmers adapt to climate change”.

Farmers and food production companies are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of extreme weather events. Adapting to climate change and building resilient, sustainable food systems is vital, and biostimulants are a key part of the solution. EBIC’s live-streamed panel session discussed the issues caused by heat, drought and floods and considered how biostimulants can support farmers and producers in adapting as conditions change.

Jens Boyen, Plant Health Attaché, Food Safety, Foodstuffs, Animal Health, Plant Health and Cosmetics, Permanent Representation of Belgium to the European Union set the scene, giving a overview of political and societal urgencies relating to climate change, including drought in Europe, and implications for food production. He said policy actions are essential to help farmers adapt to climate change because they provide the necessary resources, support, and incentives for them to implement strategies that enhance the resilience and sustainability of the food system, ultimately ensuring food security for the growing global population.

Felipe Cortines, speaking from a farmer’s perspective, shared his interest in biostimulants, suggesting that this is a technology that can help with extreme weather events such as drought and heat which is increasingly regular in Spain. He also highlighted the need for farmers to have more knowledge and training on how to use biostimulants, in terms of timing of application for instance, to make the best use of them. He asked that policymakers ensure flexibility for farmers at national and local level for them to have access to innovative solutions and continue farming sustainably.

Lisa Boulton, Ocean Regeneration Lead at Nestle Purina PetCare Europe shared a specific project they have spearheaded with other agri-food chain actors to further explore the potential of seaweed-based biostimulants to support ocean regeneration and regenerative agriculture more broadly. She highlighted the importance of continuing to generate data and information on the benefits of biostimulants, as well as the need for collaboration right across the agri-food chain.

Carlos Rodriguez-Villa Förster, as EBIC Vice President, further fleshed out how biostimulants can contribute to climate adaptation for farmers, with their positive impact on nutrient use efficiency and abiotic stress resistance. He reiterated that biostimulants are not a standalone solution but part of a broader toolbox that farmers can use, saying that biostimulants can act as an insurance against extreme weather situations. He highlighted the need for EBIC to continue engaging with agri-food chain, policymakers, academia and other stakeholders on how biostimulants can support common objectives.

The webinar concluded with a panel discussion moderated by Kevin Bosc, Co-Leader of EBIC’s Farm to Fork project team, who used his in-depth knowledge of the sector and its challenges to guide the conversation and inject relevant audience questions.

The need for collaboration was a recurring theme, with the biostimulants industry seen as a solution provider to help reduce the impact of abiotic stresses and protect yields during challenging weather events.

To gain access to a recording of the webinar, please provide your details here.