In order to implement Directive 2009/128/EC and to reduce the risks arising from the use of plant protection products, a National Action Plan has been developed in Italy. The plan calls for several actions, including low pesticide-input pest management. Each producer will have to consider the many aspects that contribute to the production process, such as appropriate cultivation techniques, use of certified propagating material and balanced fertilization. Producers will also need tools to protect beneficial organisms, prevent the spread of harmful organisms, implement monitoring and alert systems, define thresholds and establish anti-resistance strategies. Advanced knowledge about plant protection products will also be required of professional users, with the introduction of specific certified training programmes; only authorized users will be allowed to purchase plant protection products classified for professional use. The spraying equipment will have to pass functional tests. Italy has articulated Integrated Pest Management (IPM) on two levels: one mandatory and one voluntary. The latter will be supported by specific funding, in line with what has already been implemented as part of the Common Agricultural Policy. With regard to the voluntary level, the enforcement of national IPM guidelines (concerning defence and weeding technical standards) that have so far characterized the application of IPM in Italy will serve as the medium-term reference tool. This paper demonstrates how IPM has evolved in Italy over the last 20 years, and why Italian producers have already been applying the requirements of Directive 2009/128/EC for some time.
IPM guidelines; Sustainable Use Directive; SUD