Newsflash 14, 23 February 2016 by the EIP-AGRI Service Point
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Experts wanted for EIP-AGRI Focus Groups: deadline 21 March 2016

Do you have practical experience or specific knowledge on:

Read the call text and apply for the two new Focus Groups

If you have experience with one of these issues and could help find practical solutions, then please apply! If you know other people who may be interested, then please forward this email to them.
Closing date for applications:

Monday 21 March 2016 23:59 hrs CET (Brussels time)

Apply here

Focus Group: Nutrient recycling

First meeting: 31 May – 1 June 2016

Question: How to improve the agronomic use of recycled nutrients (N and P) from livestock manure and other organic sources?

Nutrient recycling and nutrient efficiency are induced by environmental policies like the Nitrates directive and the Water framework directive and, indirectly, by other EU level strategic policy frameworks such as the Raw materials initiative (including phosphate rocks). They also play a key part in the development of the circular economy. More specifically, a revised regulation on fertilisers will be delivered by the European Commission within the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy. Through it, the European Commission aims to establish a level playing field for mineral and organic and waste-based fertilisers, a situation that will contribute to the creation of new business opportunities and more options available for farmers.

A circular approach to the agronomic use of key nutrients - nitrogen and phosphorus - would ensure a more efficient and sustainable use of these resources in the long term. However the (re)use of recycled nutrients in agriculture is not yet well established. This Focus Group wants to explore how innovation can address this.

The mini-paper – ‘Opportunities and bottlenecks in the utilisation of new kinds of organic fertilisers’ drafted by 4 experts from the EIP-AGRI Focus Group on fertiliser efficiency in horticulture in open field, already indicates some specific areas related to new organic sources of fertilisers which should be developed, including opportunities and bottlenecks for a wide use of new organic fertilisers.

Focus Group: Sustainable mobilisation of forest biomass

First meeting: 21-22 June 2016

Question: How to improve the sustainable mobilisation of biomass from our forests in the EU?

This group will concentrate on innovation in mobilising different types of forest biomass for all potential markets and better interlinking supply and demand. Overall demand for forest biomass is forecast to increase in the future. This is currently driven by an increasing demand for biomass for energy generation, but other new and innovative uses for wood fibres and chemicals are on the horizon. Questions of sustainability, competitiveness of the forest-based industries, efficiency and economic viability and fragmentation, organisation and motivation of forest owners represent the major challenges for forest biomass mobilisation. In mobilising forest based biomass, economic, environmental and social functions of forests have to be safeguarded.

A clear potential to increase forest biomass utilisation for energy exists in most countries of the EU as only 60-70% of the annual increment of EU forests is harvested. Much of the potential for expansion can be found in small private holdings and silvicultural practices such as pruning and complementary fellings (namely first thinnings).

Previous work on this subject includes the publication in 2010 of the 'Good practice guidance on the sustainable mobilisation of wood in Europe', produced jointly by the European Commission, FOREST EUROPE, and the UN's Economic Commission for Europe and Food and Agriculture Organisation. This publication addressed good practice across a wide range of aspects of mobilisation.

This Focus Group however, will address in particular the currently underused potential supply of forest biomass, and will consider challenges and opportunities to increase the sustainable supply of forest biomass as a raw material for all potential markets.

EIP-AGRI Focus Groups bring together 20 experts, including farmers or foresters, advisers, researchers and agri-business representatives, to collect and summarise knowledge on best practices in a specific field, listing problems as well as opportunities.

They take stock of the state of play in research and practice and highlight possible solutions to the problems identified. Based on this, the groups suggest and prioritise innovative actions.

They identify ideas for applied research and for testing solutions in the field, and propose ways to disseminate good practices and inspire further action.

Read the EIP-AGRI brochure on Focus Groups
The EIP-AGRI Service Point is based in Brussels. You can reach us from Monday to Friday from 9:00 – 17:00. By phone +32 2 543 73 48 or email

Further information can be found on the EIP-AGRI homepage

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