In Canada and in other countries, legislation is in place to control the right to market crop inputs such as fertilizer, pesticides or seed varieties. In order to get a new herbicide onto the market, its manufacturer must obtain government approval. To get registration, the company must demonstrate, using scientific data, that the product will be harmless to both the user and the environment.
Biostimulants are not yet regulated by any registration process, however, a regulatory framework is currently being drafted in both North America and Europe. Its importance cannot be underestimated.
“This regulatory framework is going to be a key factor in the evolution of the biostimulants sector over the next few years,” says Mr Pierre Migner, president of Axter Agroscience, a biostimulants company based in Canada. This is still a relatively new sector compared to other crop inputs like fertilizers and pesticides.
“Developing such a framework is quite a challenge,” adds Mr Migner. For example, some people argue that biostimulants should be treated the same way as growth hormones. This makes sense at first glance but not when you consider that growth hormones are subject to the same regulatory framework as pesticides. Contrary to pesticides, biostimulants are not intended to destroy any crop enemy, whether it be insects, weeds or fungi. Biostimulants are intended to enhance the plant’s nutrients uptake and usage, and resistance to abiotic stress.