Assembly of European Horticultural Regions


AREFLH is a partner of the project SmartProtect, a thematic network focusing on cross-regional knowledge sharing of SMART IPM solutions for farmers and advisors. Its aim is to stimulate knowledge flow in the regional AKISs (Agriculture Knowledge and Innovation Systems) across the EU and connect these on the innovative potential of advanced methodologies for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in vegetable production, integrating precision farming technologies and data analytics.

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The horticulture sector in EU-27 accounts for about 13.7% of the agricultural output which is nevertheless only a small percentage of the total acreage (around 3%). The vegetable sector is thus characterized by a high added value and as a provider of easily accessible jobs. This is acknowledged in the Horticulture report of the European parliament from 14 March 2014. Like in other agricultural subsectors, farmers in horticulture face the challenge of responding to the mandatory implementation of the principles of integrated pest management (IPM) as called for by Directive 2009/128/EC on the sustainable use of pesticides.


IPM means careful consideration of all available plant protection methods and subsequent integration of appropriate measures that discourage the development of populations of harmful organisms and keep the use of plant protection products and other forms of intervention to levels that are economically and ecologically justified while minimizing risks to human health and the environment. IPM emphasizes the growth of healthy crops with the least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems and encourages natural pest control mechanisms (definition of the European Commission). IPM stands for a holistic approach to plant health management, based on prevention, monitoring, and control.


Also, during recent years, increasing worry about food safety, with high quality and environmentally friendly vegetable production, has been highlighted. The rational and limited use of pesticides for pest and disease control is prominent to achieve this objective. The basic objective of SmartProtect project is to fill the knowledge gap between research and practical management concerning innovation in IPM-methodology in different crops in open field crops and greenhouses. 


SmartProtect is an EU funded project in the frame of the Horizon 2020 programme. The new European research project SmartProtect started in January 2020. 


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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No. 862563.


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