Because of the extensive data packages required for authorization to market plant protection products, growers face increasing difficulties in gaining authorization for “minor uses”. Minor uses of pesticides are uses on niche crops with a high economic value for farmers, but usually of low economic interest for the agro-pesticide industry. This leads to a lack of authorized products on the market for farmers to use on these crops which in turn can lead to illegal uses or to loss of crop production. These crops include most vegetables, fruit, nurseries, flowers, forest trees and some arable crops. It is estimated that overall they represent more than € 70 billion per year, which equates to 22% of the total EU plant production value.
To address this problem in a more coherent way the European Commission (EC) has established the EU Minor Uses Coordination Facility (MUCF). The Facility started as of 1st September 2015 and is hosted by the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO) in Paris.
The mission of the Facility is ’to enable farmers in the EU to produce high quality crops by filling minor uses gaps through efficient collaboration to improve availability of chemical and non-chemical tools within an integrated pest management (IPM) framework’.
Initially, the Coordination Facility was jointly funded by the EU and the governments of France, Germany and the Netherlands. On 15 April 2018 the Grant Agreement with the European Commission expired. Since 15 April 2018 the MUCF is fully depending on voluntary assessed contributions from Member countries (EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland).
The Coordination Facility liaises with all Member States, growers associations and other organizations active internationally in the field of minor uses, such as OECD and IR-4 project. The Coordination Facility stimulates and supports further harmonization e.g. in relation to crop group and pest group definitions and is in the process of developing guidance documents.
The Coordination Facility is maintaining the European Minor Uses Database (EUMUDA) as a key structure to identify minor uses gaps, share information on them and cooperate to find solutions. The launch of the new EUMUDA took place on 28 June 2017.
The Coordination Facility is working on the development of non-chemical and IPM routes to solve minor use problems together with Commodity Expert Groups. In that respect the Coordination Facility will establish a strong link with research networks on IPM (C-IPM ERANET).
Further to the departure of the Coordinator and the Technical Expert of the facility, EPPO and the MUCF steering group are now in the process of recruiting a new Coordinator for the facility. The recruitment of a new Technical Expert will start later this year.
The Minor Uses Coordination Facility (MUCF) is recruiting a Coordinator for its facility. The job will be based in Paris at the EPPO headquarters where the MUCF is hosted. If you are interested, please find the full job description and requirements here . You will be able to apply by uploading your cover letter and other documents before the 15th June 2020 according to the indicated procedure.
EPPO is strongly committed to ensure that the MUCF will continue and fulfil the tasks the member countries require them to do. In addition to the recruitment of a new Coordinator and Technical Expert we will also look together with the MUCF Steering Group for interim solutions until these vacancies can be filled.
Minor uses of pesticides were discussed during the AGRIFISH Council meeting on 16-17 December 2019. The presidency drew the Council's attention to the issue of the long-term funding of the EU Minor Uses Coordination Facility. Many delegations took the floor to stress the usefulness of the EUMUCF in preserving the high value of niche crops like fruit and vegetables in a sustainable European agriculture. Many delegations indicated their willingness to ensure long-term support to it so that it can continue its work beyond 2020. To access the report on outcome of the meeting, click here. For more information, click here
Since 15 April 2018 the MUCF is fully depending on voluntary assessed contributions from Member countries (EU Member States, Norway and Switzerland).
The annual budget of the MUCF is estimated at 500 000 EUR.
To date, 15 Member countries have paid or committed their contribution for 2020. You can find more information on the funding of the MUCF here.