SAGROPIA Sustainable agriculture through novel pesticides using an integrated approach.

SAGROPIA aims to revolutionize plant protection in European agriculture by introducing thirteen biological and low-risk pesticides as substitutes for key “candidates of substitution” (CfS). The project focuses on potato and sugar-beet crops, intending to incorporate these novel solutions into comprehensive integrated pest management (IPM) strategies. The primary goal is to achieve a 50% reduction in the use of chemical pesticides, emphasizing a commitment to sustainability and minimizing adverse effects on natural resources, people, and the environment. SAGROPIA’s innovative approach highlights the potential for broader positive impacts on agriculture practices and serves as a model for sustainable pest control methods.


Horizon Europe | REA


€ 6 million

Start date



60 months

Project details

The challenge

The European Farm to Fork policy (F2F) places a crucial emphasis on achieving food safety and security. However, the challenge lies in the dual nature of agricultural production. While stable output relies on the widespread use of chemical pesticides, their detrimental impacts on the environment and human health necessitate a reduction in their usage. Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 identifies CfS, highlighting the importance for policymakers to replace specific active substances. This shift is particularly vital in the face of increasing pathogen and pest pressures in a changing environment. The agrifood sector currently grapples with the dilemma of maintaining high yields while addressing these challenges.

For row crops like potatoes and sugar beets, which face high pathogen pressure, finding alternatives to traditional plant protection products (PPP) is especially challenging. Biocontrol solutions have shown success in indoor and high-value crops, but achieving scale for row crops requires innovative strategies integrated into pest management plans. Considering the economic significance of potatoes and sugar beets in the EU, as major sources for food, feed, and processed products, the SAGROPIA project aims to showcase effective integrated pest management (IPM) strategies for these crops, offering sustainable alternatives to chemical PPPs.

The solution

Sustainability of IPM strategies is currently assessed only for partial applications and cannot relate the overall environmental impacts of these strategies to environmental capacities. SAGROPIA strives to explore the efficacy of single, biological, low-risk solutions based on plant and microbial extracts and microorganisms in replacing and / or reducing one or more chemical pesticides against the target pests under controlled greenhouse conditions. SAGROPIA will obtain the relative activities of 13 biocontrol solutions for control target pests and diseases in potato and sugar beet, compared to CfS and other chemical pesticides. This is needed to develop novel IPM strategies.

SAGROPIA will upscale/formulate five biopesticides based on plant extracts or microbials, study the mode of action of eight solutions and study the toxicological profile of four. The aim is to have semi-commercial production scale and similar information for all 13 solutions. Evaluating the currently used IPM strategies for sugar beet and potato, the consortium plans to develop alternative IPM strategies incorporating SAGROPIA solutions, to replace or reduce CfS and other chemical pesticides. Strategies are developed using a multi-actor approach (MAA) to ensure practical relevance. Developed strategies will be tested in small field trials to choose the most promising ones. These trials will be conducted in 5 countries over 3 years for each crop. The final product is a grower’s guide on best-practice, novel IPM strategies for potato and sugar beet.

The main impacts

SAGROPIA addresses the topic CL6-2023-FARM2FORK-01-7 “Innovations in plant protection: alternatives to reduce the use of pesticides focusing on candidates for substitution”. This project aims to reduce the overall use and risk of chemical pesticides by 50% and replace three specific pesticides in potato and sugar beet cultivation. The focus is on biocontrol methods targeting key pests such as nematodes, fungi, and insects. This project impact directly aligns with two of the three relevant expected impacts of Horizon Europe Cluster 6 - Destination 2 “Fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food systems from primary production to consumption” Sustainable Farming Systems: The project aims to establish sustainable, productive, climate-neutral, and resilient farming systems. These systems are designed to provide consumers with affordable, safe, traceable, healthy, and sustainable food. Simultaneously, the project aims to minimize pressure on ecosystems, restore and enhance biodiversity, improve public health, and ensure fair economic returns for farmers.

Inclusive and Healthy Food Systems: The project aims to contribute to sustainable, healthy, and inclusive food systems. The project seeks to deliver co-benefits for climate mitigation and adaptation, environmental sustainability, circularity, sustainable healthy nutrition, safe food consumption, food poverty reduction, the inclusion of marginalized people, the empowerment of communities, and the flourishing of businesses.


SAGROPIA is a Horizon Europe project funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are, however, those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Research Executive Agency (REA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them. Grant Agreement 101135629.

In SAGROPIA the Associate partner, Agroscope from Switzerland has received funding from the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).