The LIFE Environment Award recognises innovative projects that contribute to the protection and restoration of the environment. At the ceremony, Mihhail Kõlvart, Mayor of Tallinn - European Green Capital 2023 - presented LIFE Plants for Plants as the winning LIFE project in the Environment category. When announcing the winner, he praised LIFE Plants for Plants for the project’s special contribution to ‘achieving significant environmental and social economic impact.’
Originating from Italy and nurtured in the Netherlands, LIFE Plants for Plants revolutionised conventional agriculture by introducing organic biostimulants that improved resource efficiency and addressed environmental challenges. The commercial launch of these biostimulants marked a major milestone in promoting sustainable and eco-friendly food production. The important message of the project is ‘giving back to the plants,’ said the representatives of the winning project. ‘This became our motto: Plants for Plants.’
Although conventional agriculture provides for 95% of the world's food production, it is very resource intensive. Overall, the sector is reluctant to shift towards more resource-efficient practices due to the limited reliability of current solutions.
LIFE Plants for Plants demonstrated the impact of biostimulants on 455 ha of land and 30 crops in 17 countries, regarding efficient water use and phosphorus, as well as their crop fortification efficiency on a variety of open-air crops under different climatic conditions. This led to improved income for farmers through higher yields and better crop quality. The project aims to upscale industrial production to reach 125 000 ha of crops treated by 2026.
The Project’s trials led to a reduction in the use of 14 700 m3 of water for irrigation, 1 222 kg of phosphorus for fertiliser and 7.5 kg of fungicides. In total, 51 scientific trials were implemented, and 124 farmers were involved in demonstrating the biostimulants.
The three biostimulant products developed during the projects’ final months are CE labelled, meaning that they meet EU safety, health, and environmental protection requirements. Besides, the project participated in a working group on the EU standardisation of the new Fertiliser Directive's requirements for biostimulants. As the coordinator is active in 90 countries, replication of the project outcomes has already gone beyond EU boundaries (Israel, Turkey, and Armenia), one of the valuable criteria for being selected under the LIFE programme.
The two other outstanding finalists in the Environment category were LIFE TECMINE, a project aiming to improve mine restoration activities in the Mediterranean forest, and LIFE-FOODWASTWPREV, a project focused on changing attitudes towards food waste in Hungary.
Concluding the 2023 LIFE Awards, Ms Florika Fink-Hooijer, Director General, DG Environment, highlighted the importance of the annual celebration of LIFE projects. ‘The yearly LIFE award ceremony gives so much energy, so much commitment, and so much hope,’ she said. ‘It’s fantastic to see this bottom-up dynamism.’
LINK TO VIDEO AWARDS WEBSTREAM EU GREEN WEEK 2023 - Streaming Service of the European Commission (europa.eu)
- Publication date
- 21 June 2023
- European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency