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).
The MUCF and EPPO are very pleased to announce that Ms Barbara Edler has been appointed as the new MUCF Coordinator.
She will start on Monday 12 October in this position.
Ms Edler studied agricultural sciences and phytomedicine at the Department of Crop Protection of the University of Applied Life Sciences in Vienna, and received her PhD in agricultural sciences (George-August-University Göttingen) studying invasive weeds and their control. She has worked for seven years in the field of crop protection for a company producing biological control products.
The MUCF Steering group, the MUCF team and EPPO all feel confident that she is the right person in the right place, to continue and reinforce the work of the coordination facility in close cooperation with the Member Countries and the Expert Groups.
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.