Consumers are increasingly demanding products without pesticide residues. Farmers also have concerns over worker safety, negative environmental impacts of pesticides and non-sustainability of traditional agricultural practices. However, switch from classical farming to organic production or EPM requires an enhanced flow of the cutting-edge knowledge from the actors of the R&D field to the end-users, particularly farmers, SMEs and related professionals. The adoption of organic farming systems and EPM is advantageous to both the agricultural community and society.
Organic farmers face a substantial challenge when attempting to produce an economically viable crop under the constant pressure of disease-causing soil-borne pests that can significantly reduce yields and the quality of the marketable product. Modern organic agricultural production requires reliable and sustainable pathogen management that has been difficult to obtain during the past. The key to sustainable pest control in soil is the establishment and maintenance of the microbial community structure in a disease suppressive state. The application of microbial products for amendment of disturbed and polluted soils and for plant biocontrol is increasing all over the world. PLANTSVITA will promote this approach in the Hungary-Serbia border region.
The project aims to implement a sustainable pest management system that has the potential to effectively control diseases and enhance yields. The main goal is the development of optimized, soil type-adapted microbial products and technologies with multiple beneficial effects: quick transformation of the selected xenobiotics to less toxic/nontoxic compounds in organic farmland soils; suppression of plant pathogenic fungi in the rhizosphere; triggering the plant resistance system.
The project results in the creation of a new, innovative product family (PLANTSVITA AC optimally working at pH values between 5-7 and PLANTSVITA AL optimally working at pH values between 7-8.5) and the related technology, which intends to serve also as a pilot (lead) scheme for the R&D actions of similar types, and as a longstanding initiative to promote and support the EPM approach among agriculture-associated SMEs and farmers in the region. Both products (PLANTSVITA AC and PLANTSVITA AL) will contain nitrogen fixing, plant pathogen suppressing and soil detoxifying microorganisms which are tolerant to the heavy metals present in the soils.
The products and the technology will be available to the farmers and SMEs involved in agricultural production for the restoration of soil quality. Through a joint research of the beneficiaries and involved stakeholders, the cooperation, networking and knowledge transfer in the domain of sustainable, green approaches for the restoration of the quality of soil and the environment will be enhanced in the border region.